THE boss of an “extremely dirty” takeaway has been fined £3,800 after food hygiene inspectors found his premises was unclean, with grime and grease coating walls, surfaces and equipment.

Adam Khalid Ali, owner of Bigger Better Burgers, in Darlington, failed to provide any excuse for the filthy conditions inside the takeaway, which also had no hot water supply to staff toilets.

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to three breaches of food hygiene regulations at a court hearing last month and heard his case was aggravated by his previous convictions for poor hygiene standards at The Green takeaway in Cockerton in 2014.

He was bailed to appear before a district judge at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on Friday (April 12), however on sight of a reporter from The Northern Echo, Ali absconded from court with a warrant later issued for his arrest.

Ali, of Cockerton Green, Darlington, later handed himself in to police and appeared back before Peterlee magistrates on Saturday where he was fined £1,066 for each food hygiene offence.

The Northern Echo:

Darlington Borough Council’s Environmental Health team made an initial visit to Bigger Better Burgers off Whessoe Road in September 2018 following a complaint from a customer claiming to have been served a burger that was not thoroughly cooked.

Inspectors found:

• the premises and equipment were “extremely” dirty

• there was no hot water to the upstairs staff toilet area and the wash hand basin in the kitchen was extremely dirty and not in regular use

• food safety records had not been completed for almost a year

A letter was sent to the premises the following day explaining the conditions found and that it was to be given a hygiene score of zero – the lowest score possible.

The Northern Echo:

Officers visited the premises again in October 2018 and found that the cleanliness of the premises had improved, but the hot water in the staff toilet area was still not working.

Ali was interviewed later that month regarding the offences, but gave no reasonable excuse for the conditions found.

Magistrates in Peterlee took into account Ali’s early guilty plea, however the matter was aggravated a previous prosecution in May 2014 for similar offences at The Green pizza shop. The court heard he also had a poor food rating record with the council.

On top of being fined £1,066 for each offence, the 35-year-old was ordered to pay £525 costs and £106 victim surcharge.

A spokesman for Darlington Borough Council’s Environmental Health team, said after the case: “Although the vast majority of catering premises in Darlington comply with food hygiene regulations, the owner of this business had failed to maintain standards.

“This case sends a message to food business owners in Darlington that there will be consequences if they choose to cut corners when it comes to the important issue of hygiene.”