Angry chef, 25, who released 20 cockroaches into pub kitchen during row over unpaid holiday pay – costing the business £22,000 in insurance fees – is spared jail

  • Tom Williams, 25, ‘cockroach bombed’ the Royal William IV pub in Lincoln 
  • The pub’s owner said it had a large impact on staff and ‘they were depressed’
  • Williams has four previous offences including possession of a bladed weapon

A disgruntled chef who released 20 cockroaches from a jar into a pub kitchen after rowing with his former boss over unpaid holiday pay has been spared jail.

Tom Williams, 25, threatened to ‘cockroach bomb’ the kitchen of his former workplace – the Royal William IV pub in Lincoln – on October 11 amid an argument over holiday pay.  

David Eager, prosecuting at Lincoln Crown Court, said that two days later Williams carried out his threat.

Mr Eager said: ‘He entered the premises and released a number of cockroaches. They are a non-native species of cockroach used to feed snakes and tarantulas.’

The Royal William IV pub in Lincoln which was 'cockroach bombed' by former employee Tom Williams after a row over unpaid holiday pay

The Royal William IV pub in Lincoln which was ‘cockroach bombed’ by former employee Tom Williams after a row over unpaid holiday pay 

Staff at the pub immediately phoned Environmental Health and pest control and closed the pub, the court heard.

The pub is said to have paid £22,000 to its insurance to cover the damage caused.   

The pub’s owner, in a victim impact statement read by Mr Eager, said: ‘The effect it has had on staff and families is large. 

‘It isn’t just the finances of to the company, it was how the rest of the Royal William team, particularly the kitchen team, are upset with what happened.

‘They were depressed that someone who they worked alongside would be so callous towards them.’ 

The statement added that members of staff with children were particularly affected, as they had to stay late continuously cleaning the kitchen. 

‘They could no longer put their children to bed at night,’ the statement read.

Williams released a 'non-native species' of cockroach which is used to feed snakes and tarantulas (File Image)

Williams released a ‘non-native species’ of cockroach which is used to feed snakes and tarantulas (File Image)

Williams was due to stand trial on November 21, but didn’t turn up. 

On November 28 he entered a guilty plea to burglary with intent to cause criminal damage at the pub and failure to surrender.

‘This is a case that is littered with poor choices by this defendant,’ said Jeremy Janes in mitigation. 

‘There was a legitimate dispute. He made a poor decision to go about getting reconciliation to get, in his mind, some compensation to his perceived loss.’

Mr Janes also said Williams’ decision not to speak when interviewed was a poor decision and ‘foolish.’ 

He added: ‘The final poor choice was to not attend his trial.’ 

Lincoln Crown Court (above) heard how Williams has four previous offences including battery, possession of a bladed weapon, ABH and being drunk and disorderly

Lincoln Crown Court (above) heard how Williams has four previous offences including battery, possession of a bladed weapon, ABH and being drunk and disorderly

However, Mr Janes said Williams was angry because he needed the money to provide for his son, who he has had sole custody of since he was 23-years-old, and this led to the dispute.

But Her Honour Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight said: ‘You are very immature despite your age. Your son and society in general could benefit from you growing up.’ 

Judge Knight asked Williams: ‘Do you want to change?’ Williams responded: ‘Yes.’ 

Judge Knight asked again: ‘Do you want to see me again?’ Williams said: ‘No.’ ‘Good answer,’ said Judge Knight. 

Williams has four previous offences including battery, possession of a bladed weapon, ABH and being drunk and disorderly. 

Williams, of John Street, Lincoln, was given a 17 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Judge Knight added: ‘This is your final chance. If you breach this I am putting you back inside.’

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