THE boss of a dirty takeaway has failed to turn up at court to be sentenced after ignoring hygiene orders.

Saghir Ahmed was due to appear at Teesside Crown Court to learn his fate but failed to arrive at the court centre in his Middlesbrough hometown.

The 54-year-old owner, of the former Big Bite Pizzeria in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, was found guilty of five food hygiene and unfair trading offences when he appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court in February.

His barrister Nigel Soppitt said he had not heard anything from the missing defendant.

He said: "I had checked he was written to. Two letters were sent to his address. There had been no response from him.

"He lives locally. It's about two miles from the court, three miles at the most."

Prosecutor Anthony Pettengell said Ahmed had been on unconditional bail and suggested a warrant backed for bail in case the defendant had moved address during lockdown.

Judge Paul Watson QC agreed with the cautious approach to issuing a warrant for Ahmed's arrest.

He said: "That's very frustrating but there it is. I suppose we can't do anything today.

"I'm prepared to adjourned this case until Tuesday, August 11."

Ahmed, of Devonshire Road, Middlesbrough, was charged by Middlesbrough Council's Public Protection Service with failing to keep the premises and equipment clean and failing to register as the operator of the business.

The defendant was also found guilty of operating unfair working practices when he sold pizzas online despite being closed.