RSPCA officers swooped on an Indian restaurant after 26 live chickens were found at the back of the premises.
The chickens were discovered during an environmental health inspection by Wyre Council at Saffron, on Breck Road, Poulton.
But leaseholder Rakmat Ullah today told The Gazette he had no idea the chickens were at the restaurant and suggested his business has been deliberately targeted.
Officials found no evidence that poultry was being slaughtered on site.
Mr Ullah, who has been manager at Saffron for 10 years, said: “Unfortunately, and I don’t know who did it, but someone has planted some chickens in boxes in our back yard. I never expected to see anything like that in our yard.”
Mr Ullah, 46, said he was in the process of transferring the lease over to a new manager, but currently he was still the manager at Saffron.
He said: “I wasn’t at the restaurant, but I was called by the environmental health team during their inspection to say they had found some chickens.
“I was amazed. I didn’t know anything about any chickens, but when I got there I saw seven or eight boxes with them in. Then the RSPCA arrived and it was like a raid – they had three vans where they put all the chickens in cages. I had no idea what was happening.”
A spokesman for Wyre Council said the officers received a report of live chickens being kept at the rear of a food premises on June 19.
Environmental Health officers visited the premises that day to investigate and carry out a food hygiene inspection.
An investigation into the live chickens is still under way between the council and the RSPCA concerning animal welfare issues. The RSPCA confirmed it had been called to the restaurant, where 26 chickens were discovered.