Cockroach infestation found in takeaway

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Bosses of a Chorley takeaway that was infested with cockroaches have been fined £4,800

The food operator of Flamingos takeaway pleaded guilty to 16 food hygiene breaches at Leyland Magistrates Court on Friday.

Toseeb Khan, of Crescent Road, Bolton, was fined £300 for each offence – totalling £4,800 – and ordered to pay £4,879 costs and a victim surcharge of £15, in the prosecution brought by Chorley Council.The 25-year-old took over the Chapel Street fast food business from his uncle in December 2009.

The council closed the takeaway for eight weeks in July 2010 after a complaint led to environmental health officers discovering a cockroach infestation.

Officers inspecting the shop found live and dead insects throughout the premises, including in the food preparation area.

They also saw filthy chopping boards, dirty equipment, grease-covered plug sockets and dirty walls and floor. In addition, the staff toilet was dirty, the basin was unused and there was no soap or hand drying facilities available.

Food was found to be stored with poor consideration for food safety guidelines, for example, open raw meats stored above ready-to-eat foods.

Photographs were taken for evidence, a hygiene emergency prohibition notice was served and the shop was closed within the hour.

Coun Eric Bell, who has responsibility for environmental health at Chorley Council, said: “This is one of the worst cases of food hygiene breaches Chorley has seen, and is the first prosecution of this kind for seven years.

“The state the takeaway was found in can only be described as disgusting and dangerous. The operator acted completely irresponsibly and took no control of what was going on in his business.”

Pest control measures were taken to treat the infestation and officers visited the premises regularly over a three-month period, during which a large number of cockroaches were caught throughout the shop and in the flat above.

In September, the council lifted the order, allowing the shop to re-open. It also served hygiene improvement notices on the operator. As a result, Khan attended a training course and introduced a documented food safety management system. The improvement notices were complied with by October.

Leyland magistrates heard that Khan accepted a request to become manager without any training or experience. He went to Pakistan in mid-May 2010 due to a family bereavement and the situation deteriorated in his absence.

Khan admitted not knowing whether his staff had any food safety training, but blamed them for much of the cleanliness issue.

Overall, between July and December, council officers visited the takeaway 40 times. It was re-inspected in January and increased to a one star rating (five being the highest). The premises will be revisited when the next scheduled inspection is due, unless further complaints are received before then.

Coun Bell continued: “This case involved a lot of officer time so I’m pleased we have been able to recoup costs through this successful prosecution.

The Guardian phoned Flamingos takeway. The man who answered said it was still open. We weren’t able to speak to Toseeb Khan ahead of going to print.