Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 14:32 UK

Countess's rabbit woe costs rise

A countess was fined a further £43,250 after she failed to turn up to court to appeal against a fine for keeping a rabbit in her Norfolk hotel kitchen.

Countess Athanasia Constantine, 40, of north London, was found guilty of 18 food and hygiene breaches at the Fairholme Hotel in Great Yarmouth.

Norwich Crown Court fined her £20,000 in February and she was ordered to £20,000 in costs.

Judge Peter Jacobs ordered the money to be paid by 5 August.

He said legal action would be taken if it was not.

It was the second time Constantine, who refused to disclose the origins of her "countess" title, had failed to appear for the appeal hearing.

During the trial Norwich Magistrates Court heard inspectors had found the rabbit in the kitchen in 2007.

Health inspectors said the rabbit slept in the kitchen with a chef who was allegedly its owner.

Included in the 18 offences were having a dirty kitchen and having poorly trained staff who smoked in the kitchen.



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