Owner of filthy & mouse infested takeaway avoids jail term but is banned from running a food business
Published: Wednesday 7th March 18
The owner of a Wandsworth fast food takeaway has been banned from running a food business and narrowly avoided a jail sentence after magistrates were told he’d put public health at serious risk from a catalogue of food and hygiene breaches.
Anees Butt was prosecuted by the council’s food safety team for allowing his filthy and mouse infested Merton Road restaurant to pose an “appalling” health hazard to its customers.
The restaurant, formerly known as Wandsworth Grill but more recently as Butt Da Taba & Pizza, was covered in grease and food debris and also riddled with mouse droppings.
Food preparation and storage areas were grimy and unclean while staff working there were put at risk of death or serious injury by unsafe and defective electrical wiring and shoddy safety procedures.
And during one inspection, officers in the council’s food safety team had to order the immediate evacuation of the premises when they found a leaking gas pipe next to a grill, which the owner and staff were oblivious to.
Time and time again Mr Butt was given the chance to remedy these problems and clean up his act but time and time again he failed to do so.
This culminated in the council prosecuting him and also the company he owned. He narrowly avoided a jail sentence after pleading guilty to a litany of food hygiene and health and safety breaches.
He was ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service as a direct alternative to a custodial sentence, fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay court costs of just under £5,000.
Wimbledon magistrates were told that as well as running a filthy and unhygienic business he had also continued using various items of electrical equipment that were the subject of prohibition notices banning their use because they were dangerous.
Mice had gnawed this bag of flour
The council’s consumer protection spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “The court heard an absolute catalogue of appalling failures by Mr Butt to run a safe business combined with a series of failed opportunities to put things right.
“We take no pleasure in forcing the closure of a business nor in seeking a ban on an individual from working in that industry but these were very serious breaches that put his staff and the general public at serious risk of injury and harm. He left us no option but to take the toughest course of legal action against him.
“He had ample opportunity to improve conditions in his business but his cavalier attitude to safety and public health meant he showed himself to be quite unfit to be operating a food business.
“I would urge other food shop proprietors and managers to take careful note of this case and to respond properly when problems are highlighted. Don’t do what Mr Butt did and think you can get away with ignoring safety warnings.”
Inspectors found filthy food preparation areas
The council carries out regular inspections of all food businesses operating in the borough. Anyone concerned with health and hygiene standards at a Wandsworth restaurant or takeaway should call 020 8871 6127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org