Northern Ireland takeaway told to clean up or face closure
A takeaway owner has been fined more than £3,000 for a series of breaches of health and hygiene regulations with a warning that unless there is a "sea change" in its running it faces closure.
Newtownards Magistrates Court heard that in a number of health inspections at the Dragons Kitchen takeaway between February and June this year, officials from Ards and North Down Borough Council discovered rat droppings in a poorly constructed storage shed.
Inspectors also found there were inadequate cleaning materials, the kitchen had not been properly cleaned, there was no way of heating water, food was being stored in plastic bags and there were puddles of dirt and grease over the kitchen floor, which was covered in cardboard.
A prosecuting lawyer said the premises in Abbey Street in Bangor "have been awarded a food standard rating of zero".
As well as fines totalling £3,200, the takeaway owner Yin Wan Tang was ordered to pay £625 court costs and a £15 offender levy.
Allowing him 20 weeks to pay, District Judge Mark Hamill did not order the takeaway to be closed, but did impose a prohibition order which bars Tang from having anything to do with the running or management of the takeaway until the council decides otherwise.
"This has got to stop," declared the judge.
"What's aggravating here is that there was an inspection, they came back and nothing had been done - the whole point here is to protect the public."
He warned Tang, whose son translated the court proceedings for him, that while he was keeping the fines "as low as I can, they will be massively, massively increased if this is repeated".
Tang had earlier pleaded guilty to a total of 10 offences including five breaches of food standard and hygiene regulations, four of failing to comply with hygiene improvement notices and one of allowing animal faeces to accumulate.
A lawyer representing the council had told the court how an initial inspection in February uncovered numerous problems at the Dragons Kitchen take away.
These included possible rat droppings in a shed that was "not properly constructed" but was being used to store food in plastic bags, which were not fit or suitable for that purpose.
Judge Hamill said: "The council can determine when he can resume management but there better be a sea change in the way these premises are run otherwise they will be closed."