The Middlesbrough Council fined Khushi Indian Buffet Restaurant owners Shabana and Mohammed Khushi after residents who lived near their establishment complained of aromas of 'biryanis' and 'bhajis' filtering through the area.
The pair were fined 258 pounds each, ordered to pay 500 pounds costs each, and a 30 pounds victim surcharge. According to the local municipal authority, the Linthorpe restaurant was lacking a 'sufficient filtration system'. Locals had been complaining about the smells, which led to the council's decision.
Khushi, which serves Punjabi cuisine and is based in the Red Rose pub, is located in a built-up residential area alongside other businesses.
At Teesside Magistrates' Court last week, District Judge Kristina Harrison heard from a council prosecutor that some residents had complained that the smell of spicy food from the restaurant's kitchen got in through their windows and was overpowering.
Defence solicitor Neil Douglas, however, said that because the business had moved into a former pub building, no variation of planning permission was needed and therefore the Khushis were never made aware of the type of filters they needed.
In letters written to a judge, some local businesses and councillors supported the restaurant, saying they have never had a problem with curry smells on the road. The pair, joint directors in the business, have already upgraded their filtration system, but face another 3,500 pounds to 4,500 pounds bill to complete the work.
Shabana, 42, speaking after the case, was quoted as saying, "We are relieved that it's all over, but we feel let down by the council."
"We've tried to be a good neighbour but we feel we've been targeted by a small minority of people. Others have said they can't smell anything until they're inside the restaurant," she said.