A Leamington restaurant owner with a history of hygiene offences continued running his business in breach of a ban imposed when he was given a suspended prison sentence.
And a judge at Warwick Crown Court has warned Mohammed Muneer that an immediate jail term is ‘the likely outcome’ after he pleaded guilty to contravening a prohibition order.
The charge detailed that between the end of January last year and the end of September, he took part in the management of a food business, Ali’s Curry House in Bath Street, Leamington.
That was in breach of an order made on January 23 under the Food Hygiene Regulations banning Muneer (64) of Denbeigh Street, Bordesley Green, Birmingham, from participating in the management of a food business for two years.
Tarlowchan Dubb, defending, pointed out that Muneer had entered his plea on the basis that the offence was limited to a period up until April 7.
He explained that was when the lease on the restaurant was taken over by a Mr Khan, who was now running the business, although Muneer still works there as an employee.
The prosecution by Warwick District Council was the culmination of a series of breaches of food hygiene regulations by Muneer.
He had been given a caution in 2014, and the following year he was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay more than £4,000 costs after a rat infestation was found at the restaurant.
In January last year magistrates were told that Muneer, who had pleaded guilty to six hygiene offences, had persistently failed to maintain hygiene standards.
When District Council food safety officers had visited Ali’s Curry House they discovered access to a hand-washing sink was partly blocked, indicating staff were not washing their hands.
Surfaces throughout the kitchen were filthy, equipment which came into contact with food was dirty, and there were ‘mouldy and sprouting food items’.
As a result of those offences, Muneer was given a 23-week prison sentence suspended for two years – and made subject to the prohibition order.
At the request of Mr Dubb, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on Muneer.
But she warned him: “That is no indication at all that it will not be a custodial sentence. That is the likely outcome.”