High spice to pay for curry house filth
Date published: 10 October 2013
THE owner of an Oldham restaurant was ordered to pay £10,725 yesterday after mouse droppings and foul conditions were found in the kitchen of his business during several environmental health inspections.
Mohammed Saleem (56) of the Taj Palace in King Street, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Food Hygiene Act during a hearing in September. Yesterday he was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £2,725 in legal costs by Oldham Magistrates.
Investigators found a build-up of grease on the walls, a hole in the ceiling and a mouse problem.
Saleem - not represented in court - said he was “very busy” and “still learning” the restaurant business after taking over the restaurant in June 2010. The offences relate to visits in March and May this year.
Charges included failure to operate proper food safety management systems, failure to deal with mouse infestation and failure to keep the restaurant clean and in good repair.
Oldham Council was alerted to the problem in March 2012, when complaints were made about the restaurant’s food quality and there were incidents of food poisoning.
In July the restaurant was found to be “filthy” and in an “appalling” state by inspecting officers, who served a notice demanding urgent action.
In subsequent investigations little improvement was noted and debris was still present under equipment, with limited evidence of any cleaning.
In May this year Saleem was argumentative and suggested mouse droppings were “cinnamon seeds” as he toured the kitchen with an inspector.
He voluntarily closed the restaurant for improvements and cleaning. Officers allowed the retaurant to reopen in May.
Ruth Crimmins for the council said: “This case shows a blatant disregard by Mr Saleem for any advice given to him and help from the environmental health team.”
The court heard how Saleem tried to intimidate an environmental health officer on the morning of the case at court, claiming Oldham Council had a “vendetta” against him.
Saleem said the restaurant remained closed after the hearing in September. He is awaiting a new inspection.
REPORTERS at yesterday’s court hearing had to justify reporting the story when Mohammed Saleem asked for reporting restrictions to be applied because reports would be detrimental to his business.
The application was denied
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