These are the filthy conditions which let to an Indian takeaway being prosecuted

A 2019 visit to an Indian takeaway which uncovered mouse droppings and dirty conditions has resulted in a court ordering payments of more than £5,000.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 9:55 am

The inspection by Durham County Council’s environmental health team led to the closure of the premises, and the awarding of a food hygiene rating of zero.

It has now led to the company which ran the takeaway at the time, and its then director being prosecuted by the council under food safety regulations.

Rokeya Begum, 61, of Marlborough Avenue, Newcastle, and Belmont Spice Limited, trading at Cheveley Park Shopping Centre, Durham; each pleaded guilty to four offences at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

These are the filthy conditions which let to an Indian takeaway being prosecuted

The court heard the December 2019 visit to the takeaway revealed:

* Dirty interior walls and light switches heavily coated in grease.

* Mouse droppings on the floor beneath pallets.

* External surfaces of containers holding food which were dirty.

The conditions Durham County Council in the inspection,

* Greasy pipework and radiators.

* Staff toilet with no soap or paper towels at the wash basin. Food stored in an external room which was considered unsuitable for food storage because the walls were bare plaster and the floor was concrete so it could not be effectively cleaned and disinfected.

* Dirty shelves throughout the kitchen and a wash basin and the pipework below heavily coated in food debris.

* Equipment in an unsatisfactory condition including wet pans, wet and dirty plastic containers, damaged plastic bowls, plastic containers used as food storage which were dirty and damaged, badly worn and “filthy” chopping boards, and a “filthy” cardboard box containing dirty pan lids.

The conditions Durham County Council at Belmont Tandoori

* A dirty polystyrene box, with newspaper at the bottom, which the officer was advised was used for naan breads.

* Poppadoms sat directly on top of cardboard despite the use of cardboard in a kitchen being unhygienic because it cannot be cleaned and disinfected.

* Mouse droppings on the floor beneath a work bench.

* Dirty surfaces inside a fridge, a container of raw meat stored next to a container of ready to eat food, and a “filthy” floor.

A storage area discovered by Durham County Council at Belmont Tandoori

* Dirt and food debris inside a drawer amongst utensils.

* A dirty Tandoori oven with a build-up of grease and dirt in the entry hole to the main gas feed pipe.

In her defence, magistrates were told Begum accepted responsibility for the offences.

She had run the business for two decades without any problems up until two years ago, winning an award for best local takeaway.

For personal reasons, Begum had reduced her role in daily operations, ultimately passing the business to her son and no longer having any involvement.

The court was also told the business has undergone an overhaul of its staff and is now doing well, being given a four star rating.

A food storage container at Durham County Council at Belmont Tandoori.

Belmont Spice was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £521.94 and a victim surcharge of £181.

Begum was fined £320, with £521.94 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

Michael Yeadon, the council’s environment and health protection manager, said: “We are pleased that the business has now made significant improvements under new leadership and while we know the vast majority of food providers in County Durham adhere to hygiene standards, this case proves we will not hesitate to take action against any that put the public at risk through poor practice.”

Support your Echo and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on SAFC and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.