DIRTY clothes, flaking paint and cooked chicken in cardboard boxes – these are the disgusting conditions which greeted health inspectors at a grimy takeaway.
Officials inspected Ho Ho’s Chinese Noodle House after a tip-off from a member of the public, and this week Blackpool Council took owner Gou Long Chen to court.
The 44-year-old, who lives above the shop in Waterloo Road, South Shore, pleaded guilty to a seven charges under the Food Hygiene Act when he appeared before Blackpool Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
And the judge heard how Chen, who had been in charge of the takeaway since 2010, had allowed smoking on the premises and dirty clothes to be left lying around, and had left cooked chicken and prawn crackers stored in cardboard boxes.
The paint on the walls and ceilings was also found to be flaking.
Before Wednesday’s hearing inspectors returned to the property at the request of the defence and found – although conditions had improved – a cutting board had black mould on it which the chef attempted to remove with a knife, which he then wiped on his trousers.
In Chen’s defence, Jon Holt said it was not the worst case of its kind and not a “kitchen from hell” type premises.
But Chen pleaded guilty to not keeping the premises clean, failing to keep the walls and surfaces in good condition, failing to ensure ceilings were sound to stop particles falling, failing to ensure work surfaces where food was handled were in sound condition and easy to clean.
He also admitted a sixth charge of failing to maintain equipment which came into contact with food and pleaded guilty to failing to keep food in proper areas designed to prevent harmful deterioration and protect food from contamination.
Mr Holt said Chen had now addressed what was wrong and fitted new equipment, and that he would take assistance given to him by the council food hygiene team.
District Judge Jeff Brailsford warned him he must comply with the law, and said there were still issues with staff training and equipment which needed replacing.
He added: “You do not appear to be making a lot of money out of this business but people involved in the food industry must comply with regulations for the safety of the public.”
Chen was fined £2,250 and ordered to pay court costs of £500.
Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member with responsibility for housing and public protection, told The Gazette: “It is vital all takeaways and restaurants follow health and safety regulations to ensure the public is protected.
“As this case shows, if they fail to do so, we will not hesitate to take action.”