King’s Lynn takeaway boss handed £17,000 bill for safety breaches

Mohammed Mahboob (left) of the Royal Spice in Norfolk Street leaves Lynn Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon. ANL-140227-170902001
Mohammed Mahboob (left) of the Royal Spice in Norfolk Street leaves Lynn Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon. ANL-140227-170902001

A Lynn takeaway operator has today, Thursday February 27, been ordered to pay more than £17,000 in fines and costs for 13 breaches of food hygiene and health and safety rules.

Royal Spice, in Norfolk Street, Lynn, was dirty, there was not proper procedures to prevent cross contamination between raw and cooked foods, staff displayed inadequate personal hygiene and a damaged electrical socket could have led to a fatality, Lynn magistrates were told this afternoon.

During three months of repeated visits to the business, between July and September last year, environment officers spotted a stained toilet with no paper, broken glass in a door panel close to where food was being prepared and raw meat being prepared over the salad table.

They also saw a member of staff touching food with a thick absorbent bandage on his thumb and a bowl and sponge that had just been used for toilet cleaning placed in the food preparation sink.

Cara Jordan, prosecuting, said: “There has been a rather sorry history at this establishment.”

As far back as 2012, visits were made by environmental health officers and the guidance given included such basics as advising that hands needed to be washed before food preparation, Miss Jordan said.

Mohammed Mahboob, 33, was fined £1,000 on each of ten counts of breaching food hygiene regulations.

He was also fined £5,000 for exposing employees to risk of electrocution by allowing a damaged socket to be used.

There was no separate penalty for breaching a prohibition notice relating to the socket by allowing it to continue to be used and for allowing a damaged electrical lead and adapter to be exposed to water under a hand basin.

No separate penalty was given for a breach of a prohibition of pests order by failing to clear rubbish from a yard, in August last year.

Mahboob could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to £20,000 for each of the health and safety breaches. For the food hygiene breaches he could have been fined up to £5,000 each.

The court could also have ordered his business premises be closed down or have banned Mahboob from running a food business.

Andrew Cave, mitigating, said Mahboob had taken action to address the problems and that his financial difficulties had prevented him from doing it sooner.

The court heard he has not earned a profit in the past two years and had personal debt.

He also struggled to ensure his five staff acted appropriately as for many of them English was not their first language, but believed he was now on top of it.

Mr Cave said: “If you were talking about somebody who had been in court before that is when you step in to prevent them earning their living.

“Mr Mahboob has spent every last penny he has on trying to save this business and has gone a significant way to making sure it is a very healthy place.”

Mahboob was also ordered to pay £2,751.09 in costs, plus a £120 victim surcharge.