Dead rats found in takeaway

Exterior of Krunchy's Chicken and Pizza, Ormskirk Road
Exterior of Krunchy's Chicken and Pizza, Ormskirk Road

SHOCKED inspectors found dead rats and other revolting deadly hygiene risks in a popular Wigan takeaway, a court heard.

Waseem Arshad pleaded guilty to six charges of failing to comply with EU food safety and hygiene laws when he appeared before Wigan and Leigh magistrates.

The court was told how one dead rodent was found wedged between two freezers used to store food at Krunchy’s Chicken and Pizza in Newtown.

Rat droppings were discovered on shelving near food wrappings and packaging; foul sewage water was to be found swilling around the storeroom floor due to blocked drains alongside thick grease and debris.

Shelves holding bottled drinks were thick with dirt and mould as was an abandoned pizza delivery bag which was found on the floor.

And holes were discovered in the external wall through which pests could enter. These were just some of the shocking discoveries made by Wigan Council health inspector Lynn Fish last year.

The takeaway was immediately shut down on the grounds that the poor hygiene level represented an immediate risk of injury to health. It is now registered under a new proprietor and the authority says it has since made “slight improvements”.

Prosecuting, Alison Henderson explained that council officers had visited the property on three previous occasions and had scored it a rating of three out of five.

It was only when a member of the public made a complaint about the establishment did inspectors return to find it in a “dire state”.

She said: “There were three really obvious areas of rat activity found downstairs and around the premises and a rodent carcass was also found under the floorboards.”

Ms Henderson told justices that at the time Arshar, who was named as the owner, was in Pakistan following a family emergency.

She said: “Tests showed a lack of knowledge in basic food safety standards amongst staff.”

Defending, Graham Simpson said there were others involved with the ownership of the business but Arshad admitted all legal responsibility after signing the licence when he first joined the company.

He said: “I have the uncomfortable feeling that my client stands to take the hit on this but has not had any financial benefit of any substance from the business and he was not well paid and had no control over staff pay.

“He still works in the catering industry but now has a much reduced level of responsibility.

He added: “He is extremely ashamed and embarrassed. From his point of view he saw himself as someone of good character.

“He came to this country and worked hard and gained qualifications from a restaurant in London.

“The damage to his reputation in the catering industry has been substantial and will follow him for years to come.

“And he is robust enough to say he accepts the responsibility as he had signed the papers.

“There are other people I would have loved to see present alongside him to accept responsibility but they are immunised from it because, being owners or part owners, they didn’t put pen to paper.”

Alan Blundell, Wigan Council’s assistant director of regulation services, said: “The vast majority of food businesses in the borough meet good standards to ensure food safety, and we work closely with all food establishments to ensure they meet, maintain and further improve their standards.

“However, we do take formal action against businesses that persistently fail to meet standards because they put the public at risk and that is not acceptable.

“We are very positive about working with businesses. For any business that wants advice the first port of call is our website”

Arshad, of Park Road, Bolton, was ordered to pay £600 per offence reduced for a late guilty plea to £475 per offence, totalling £2,850.

He was also told to pay £1,370 court costs and £47.50 victim surcharge.

For all food establishment ratings across the borough visit the Wigan Council website.