Rat droppings found in zero-rated Blackpool takeaway

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A Blackpool town centre fast food restaurant was infested with rats carrying potentially deadly germs.

A Blackpool town centre fast food restaurant was infested with rats carrying potentially deadly germs.

Rat droppings found in zero-rated eatery

Rat droppings found in zero-rated eatery

The Food Hub on Albert Road had a long history of non compliance over food hygiene regulations, Blackpool magistrates were told

In June last year, the owner was served with notices by Blackpool Council to make immediate improvements but Zulfiqar Malik failed to react.

A council officer re inspected the premises and when she went into the basement area found evidence of old and new rat droppings and a foul smell.

Sharon Davies, prosecuting for the local authority, said the council had received a complaint about a rat previously being seen at the Food Hub.

The Food Hub on Albert Road was found to be infested with rats.

The Food Hub on Albert Road was found to be infested with rats.

She added: “An inspector went to the Food Hub as a result. She found a number of matters relating to cleanliness and hygiene .

“The owner was given a month to deal with the matters before a re-inspection

“When that was done things had not been dealt with and the inspector went into the basement area where there was a foul smell and the rat droppings and flies.

“There were holes in the walls which would have allowed rats to get inside.

“The owner denied there was a rat problem and he was told he would have to close until it was dealt with.”

Magistrates heard a pest control firm dealt with it as an emergency that day.

The holes were filled and areas cleaned.

Malik had closed on a voluntary basis and was allowed to re-open when the work was carried out.

The prosecutor added: “There has been a history of non compliance over food hygiene since 2011. Rats carry germs which can cause serious illness even death.”

Brett Chappell defending said: “My client is crestfallen, embarrassed and ashamed. He does not pass the buck.

“He takes full responsibility.

“He has left the premises and now lives in Luton. At lot of the problems were due to financial pressure and he was £50,000 in debt.”

Magistrates said their sentencing powers were not enough and Malik was sent on bail to Preston Crown Court where he will appear on September 4.

Online reviews of the Food Hub paint a picture of the premises being dirty and greasy and the food dished-up as “expensive” and “disgusting”.

Last year the outlet received a zero Food Hygiene Rating from the council.

One reviewer said: “It was awful, the place stank (and) was dirty.”

Another added: “On taking a seat, I noticed how dirty the place was, cobwebs all over the windows and the cutlery was dirty.

“Chips were undercooked and so was the sausage so much so it was still raw! After complaining we were refunded the price of a single sausage.”