Takeaway kitchen so ‘deplorable’ that magistrate sends case to crown court

Harvey's mouldy kebab meat from Blackpool Gazette

The “deplorable” state of a Lancashire takeaway’s kitchen has been deemed so severe that magistrates have sent the case to the crown court.

Harvey’s in Kirkham, near Blackpool, was prosecuted by Fylde Council after health inspectors found food covered in weeks of mould and unfit for human consumption.

The site’s owner Kasim Ali Ahmed was found to be selling “putrid, stinking” food prepared in a filthy kitchen next to dirty clothing, including socks. It is the second time an owner of Harveys has been prosecuted over the premises.

Michael Lavery, prosecuting on behalf of Fylde Council, told Blackpool magistrates that the case was an “intentional and flagrant disregard of the law” and that it posed a serious high risk to the public.

“Conditions were deplorable and the food was mouldy and putrid. There was no cleaning, no hot water for handwash basins, no records kept… no systems whatsoever.”

He said the prosecution would be asking for an order banning Ahmed, who pleaded guilty to nine offences of keeping dirty premises and dangerous food, from having any involvement with the food retail industry.

According to the Blackpool Gazette, council officers visited the takeaway and found dirty clothes, including dirty socks, in the food area. Officers also found a cannabis crusher and evidence of smoking in the food areas. Meat was being kept at too high a temperature and some frozen produce was unidentifiable.

Out-of-date coleslaw was on sale and pineapple used on pizzas was found in a rusty tin with metal shards inside with the fruit. Tuna was unfit to be eaten, mushrooms were covered in slime and staff had no hot water to wash in, the paper reported.

Kebab meat was left to defrost in a carrier bag under a food preparation bench and chicken to be sold to the public was rotten. Marinading lamb was also gathering mould. The picture above, published by the Blackpool Gazette, shows mouldy kebab meat found on the premises.

The council visits resulted in Ahmed getting a zero hygiene rating but he continually failed to improve his premises. When it was finally shut down by the council using a court order he removed the official notices from his shop window.

The prosecutor added: “The place was in a terrible condition. There was mould on virtually every type of food and some was out of date.”

Chairman of the Bench Marilyn Padgett said the case were so serious that it would be sent to the Crown Court for a sentence to be passed.

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