THE boss of a “filthy” Blackpool takeaway was hauled before the courts amid fears customers could be poisoned.
Trading Standards officers were called into investigate dirty conditions at Kebab Express on Central Drive.
They found a catalogue of filth within the kitchen which, officers say, put the health of people who ate there at risk.
Tim Coglan, Blackpool Council’s Trading Standards chief said: “The floors were filthy, the ceilings were filthy and the fridges were ineffective and again filthy.
“This was pretty bad and there was clear evidence of improper practice.
“Potentially these issues can lead to disease and food poisoning and cannot be tolerated.
“It is for that reason we brought a prosecution.”
Blackpool Magistrates found Hassan Almasri, owner of the Kebab Express, guilty of a number of food hygiene offences.
The offences – nine in total – date back to November when the council undertook a hygiene inspection.
Officers observed contraventions of food hygiene legislation including damage to the ceiling and dirt-laden floors and fittings.
The officers also discovered the business did not have a supply of hot water to allow effective cleaning.
Magistrates fined Almasri a total of £530.
He was also ordered to pay £330 costs, and a victims’ surcharge of £15.
Blackpool Council operates a zero tolerance approach to food hygiene.
The authority has handed out four times as many notices to improve to traders than any other authority in the country.
Last year, Blackpool issued 481 Hygiene Notices – the next most prolific was Southend Council with 101.
Mr Coglan added: “This does not mean Blackpool is worse than any other area. What it shows is we have a robust intervention campaign. We visit takeaways when they are at their busiest which shows us the reality of the food preparation operation and highlights any potential risks.
“This approach has been very successful in clamping down on improper practice. This has been a salutary lesson for the owners (of Kebab Express).
“They have acted to rectify the situation and we believe the premises have been improved ahead of being re-leased.”
n Blackpool Trading Standards has set up a confidential telephone hotline for anyone to report rogue food outlets. The number is (01253) 478375.