Kebab shop owner jailed over squalor

A kebab shop owner who ran his business without running water for eight months was jailed yesterday for breaching hygiene rules.An environmental health officer who visited Kebabish in North Quay, Yarmouth, said the premises were among the filthiest she had ever seen.

A kebab shop owner who ran his business without running water for eight months was jailed yesterday for breaching hygiene rules.

An environmental health officer who visited Kebabish in North Quay, Yarmouth, said the premises were among the filthiest she had ever seen.

Ahmet Kara, 48, of London Road South, Lowestoft, appeared before Norwich Crown Court for sentence, having admitted eight breaches of food hygiene rules.

A water company employee noted that Kebabish was still trading, despite the water having been disconnected on October 17, 2005 after Kara had not paid the bill.

Environmental health officers inspected the shop on May 12 last year and issued a food hygiene emergency prohibition notice, closing the shop immediately. It has remained closed ever since.

“It was, to say the least, in a very poor state in terms of health, safety and hygiene,” said Richard Wood, prosecuting.

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There was no hot or cold running water, so food and hands could not be washed, and a toilet was in a stinking condition as it could not be flushed.

Officers found a mouldy dough bucket, a dirty wire mesh bucket full of chips on the floor and kebab-cutting equipment resting on a dirty cloth.

A deep fat frying range was dirty and greasy and flour in a storage bin had a number of live flies in it. Chicken portions stored in a plastic bucket were said to be barely fit for human consumption, while pizza bases were found to contain black particles.

A gas cooking range was dirty and an “amazing” number of dirty cloths found around the sink area posed a very high risk of cross-contamination.

Asked if he had any food hygiene training, Kara said he had but could produce no evidence.

Ramiz Gursoy, for Kara, said his client was a Turkish national who spoke very little English. He was a man of previous good character, with no convictions in the UK or Turkey, and had pleaded guilty at an early stage.

“He fully accepts his responsibilities and the potential harm that could have been caused to customers using his restaurant,” said Mr Gursoy.

“He accepts he is very lucky nobody got injured or was ill through using his restaurant.”

Mr Gursoy added: “There's absolutely no evidence that anybody was in any way harmed through consuming food from these premises.”

He said Kara had vowed not to run a food business ever again, and had not returned to Yarmouth. He had since been declared bankrupt, his wife had left him and he was suffering from depression, he added. Judge Simon Barham told Kara that his most serious offence was in running his business without a water supply.

The judge said:“It requires no training to understand that to have a water supply is essential if you are running a food business like this.

He jailed Kara for four months and issued an order banning him from being involved in the management of any food business.

After the hearing,Yarmouth Borough Council environmental health officer Kate Watts said: “This is one of the worst cases that I have encountered in my career.

“The business was running with a blatant disregard to the welfare of its customers and presented a substantial public health risk.”

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