News
for the month of October, 2014

Food retailer put out of business for hygiene breaches

8th of October 2014

The owner of a food outlet in Radyr has been prosecuted by officers from Cardiff’s Environmental Health section, fined a total of £3900, ordered to pay costs of £400 and a victim surcharge, following persistent breaches of food hygiene regulations. In addition, A Prohibition Order was made preventing him from managing a food business premises.

Simon Kealy, who operated the outlet “Toast” in Station Road, pleaded guilty to 21 offences under the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006 and the General Food Hygiene Regulations 2004, at a hearing at Cardiff Magistrates Court on September 4. The repeated breaches of the regulations spanned over 3 visits made to the premises by Environmental Health Officers and included:

  • Failure to maintain the businesses food safety management system
  • Inadequate food hygiene training
  • Placing unsafe food on the market
  • Failure to protect food from contamination
  • Failure to have adequate procedures in place to control pests
  • Failure to maintain the premises and equipment clean and in good repair


At the first visit made in April 2013, the inspection identified many significant food safety concerns including mouldy foods and rodent gnawed blocks of butter in the refrigerator. The general condition and cleanliness of the premises was poor and a Remedial Action Notice was served to prohibit the use of the rodent infested store room until pest proofing works were undertaken and the infestation eradicated.  The premises was rated "0" under the food hygiene rating scheme to indicate that urgent improvement was necessary.

A second inspection visit was made in May 2013 which identified foods past their use-by date, dirty food equipment, no evidence of staff training, no food safety management system, and high food temperatures.

The premises was re-inspected a third time in September 2013 following an application by Simon Kealy. At this visit mouldy and slimy food, as well as out of date foods, high food temperatures, dirty wiping cloths and no evidence of hand-washing were in evidence.

Councillor Daniel De'Ath, cabinet member for Public Protection said,

“This was a serious breach of the regulations governing food hygiene. The premises had a history of non-compliance with the legislation. In spite of being made aware of the requirements of food law on a number of occasions, the owner of the business demonstrated no improvement to the standards required. As a consequence action was taken to protect the risks to public health.”  

The premises at Station Road have now been sold to an unrelated person, operating a business unconnected to Simon Kealy.  The Prohibition Order on Mr Kealy can be lifted if evidence is given to the Court of his fitness to run a food business. 

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Bradford restaurant closed down after inspectors find 120 cockroaches

8th of October 2014

   A CHINESE takeaway in Bradford has been closed down after environmental health officers discovered a cockroach infestation.

More than 120 of the pests were found at China Wings when Bradford Council paid a visit.

The cockroaches were in a trio of three-inch square-sized traps at the takeaway on Mannville Terrace, off Morley Street, in Bradford's student area.

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court heard today that officers from the Council served a closure notice on the business last Friday, before making a follow-up visit on Monday to ensure the owners were aware of their court date.

Martin Grimshaw, an environmental health officer at the Council, told the court that he had noticed two cockroaches when he paid a visit to the shop last Thursday. He arranged to visit the following day, and he found the infestation in the three traps, leading to the notice being posted through the shop's letterbox at 4.30pm.

"I found rather a lot of cockroaches on each of the traps," said Mr Grimshaw, who also told how he took photographs of food on the premises that was open to contamination.

He added: "The concern is that there is a cockroach infestation at the premises and it is inappropriate to operate whilst that is the case."

The closure notice - which had China Wings, Adnan Rahim, Mohammed Shafiq and Adnan Ashraf named on it - stated there was "cockroach activity within the kitchen food preparation and cooking area, and the storage area".

It also stated: "During visits on October 2 and 3, I noted live and dead cockroaches in the kitchen and storage areas, and your pest control company had laid monitoring traps on which cockroaches were found."

Councillor Val Slater, the Council’s executive member with responsibility for environmental health, said: "When a serious case of cockroach infestation is identified such as this, Bradford Council has to act as quickly as possible to get the premises closed to protect the health of the public."

Environmental health officers from the Council will continue to monitor the situation, said a spokesman for the authority, who added that the food business operator would have to apply in writing for the business to re-open, which would only be allowed to happen once the imminent risk to health has been removed. 

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‘I was threatened for complaining about a health hazard’

27th of October 2014

EHN investigates the ugly side of the UK rental boom: tenants evicted for complaining about poor conditions.

Ellie May and partner were overjoyed to find an affordable flat together in north London after a year of sofa surfing. But their new home quickly turned into source of anxiety and stress when they discovered cockroaches crawling over the floor.

‘On the second night we were here, my partner work up and said “there’s something in the living room” and he caught a cockroach under a glass,’ she says shivering with the memory. ‘This is our first flat together and it has absolutely ruined it for us.’

Since that night they have found cockroaches, which can carry disease-causing bacteria on their bodies, every morning in their studio flat overlooking the celebrated Turkish restaurants of Green Lanes in Haringey.

 

Ellie, who is unemployed, complained to her letting agent but was told their usual pest contractor was unavailable. After waiting two weeks she contacted Haringey Council’s environmental health service.

‘The letting agent kept saying this guy is coming back from his holiday but I didn’t feel like they were going to do anything,’ she said.

An EHO inspected the flat and found two types of cockroaches: German and Oriental. He told her he would serve a notice on the letting agent and landlord.

Ellie then left notes for the other tenants in the block to establish if they were also infested. When the letting agent found out, he threatened her with eviction.

‘He called at half past seven on a Friday night and started shouting “you are a trouble maker, I don’t want you living here”,’ she recalls. ‘It was really unsettling. I started crying as soon as I got off the phone and my partner started panicking.’

The agent informed her he was going to serve them with two months notice at the end of their tenancy. She is upset that there is nothing she can do to prevent him making them leave after six months.

‘I haven’t actually done anything wrong. I’ve been a good tenant. I’ve paid my rent on time. I ‘ve kept that flat in a good condition. We are not anti-social. We keep our selves to ourselves. All I’ve done is complain about a serious problem that can be a health hazard and I’m being shouted at down phone and threatened.’ 

Haringey Council told EHN that it had served the landlord with a enforcement notice to treat the building.

'We received a complaint from Ms May about a cockroach infestation at her flat, and an environmental health officer visited on September 22. The owner of the property was served with an enforcement notice on September 23, requiring all flats within the premises to be treated within 21 days,' said a spokesperson.

'Haringey Council is committed to ensuring that private rented property in the borough meets a high standard of quality. Where there is evidence that this is not happening, we will not hesitate to take action.'

A Shelter and British Gas survey this year found that one in eight tenants have not asked for repairs to be carried out in their home, or challenged a rent increase in the last year because they fear eviction.

It also found one in 50 tenants have been evicted or served with a notice in the past year after they complained to their local council or their landlord about a problem in their home.

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EHO likely to be jailed for crash death

27th of October 2014

An EHO has been told he faces a custodial sentence after he crashed his sports car into another vehicle killing its driver.

Stewart Rosoman, who works for West Dorset District Council, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving while unfit through drink at Dorchester Crown Court this month.

The court heard that Mr Rosoman had been drinking with Frederick Gallow at the Hambro Arms pub before the accident on a narrow stretch of road near Milborne St Andrew on 15 May 2013.

Mr Gallow told the jury Mr Rosoman had driven at around 70 to 80mph and at one point claimed ‘we just hit 110 miles per hour’ before the collision.

The driver of the other car, David Waterland, a retired company director, was killed almost instantly and his wife, Margaret, was seriously injured.

A nurse who treated Mr Rosoman at Dorset County Hospital said he had told her he had drunk four pints and gave off a ‘fairly overpowering’ smell of alcohol.

But Mr Rosoman said he only remembered buying himself two drinks.

Judge Peter Johnson told Mr Rosoman that he faces a custodial sentence when he appears at Bournemouth Crown Court on 4 November.

West Dorset District Council chief executive, Matt Prosser, said: 'The council would like to pass on its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the gentleman who died in this tragic collision. Once sentencing has taken place the council will conclude its investigation into the matter of Mr Rosoman’s position.'

 

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Landlord jailed for 'flouting fire laws'

27th of October 2014

A landlord has been imprisoned for eight months after fire fighters rescued tenants from smoke-logged bedsit-style flats with a broken fire alarm and jammed fire doors in Leicester.

Haresh Patel, the owner of the flats in adjoining properties on Evington Street, Leicester, was sentenced last week at Leicester Crown Court after pleading guilty to seven charges of breaching fire safety legislation.

He was given eight months imprisonment and ordered to pay Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Services costs of £13,700.

The fire broke last year in the kitchen of one of the 11 flats and spread rapidly through the building. Some tenants escaped through windows but three people had to be rescued by firefighters.

Inspectors found the building had an inactive fire alarm system and Mr Patel had not carried out a fire risk assessment. Some fire doors were missing and other would not close. Settees and washing machines were stored in the corridors. Residents also slept in the corridors.

Corridors were blocked

Judge Brown said that Mr Patel, who had a substantial portfolio of 17 properties, should have been well aware of the health and safety of his tenants.

‘You offered rented accommodation in your properties and were well aware of the obligations as a landlord to protect the health and safety of your tenants – or you should have been,’ he said. ‘These offences show you failed in virtually every aspect of fire safety in relation to 9-11 Evington Street.’

He added: ‘You’d been warned about fire safety by the council at these same properties and didn’t heed those warnings or take any measures to comply with fire safety regulations.’

Andrew Brodie, head of community safety of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said Mr Patel had demonstrated ‘a shocking lack of regard’ for the flats residents.

‘This sentence sends a very strong message to the owners and managers of similar premises regarding their legal responsibilities and the likely result of ignoring them. We will continue to work closely with partners to identify and prosecute those who flout the law, placing profit above safety,’ he said.

Legal 1

Mr Patel had already been fined £20,000 following a prosecution taken by Leicester City Council relating to the same premises, and £14,500 relating to another premises in Gopsall St Leicester, plus costs of £4,124.

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