Stowmarket: Owners of Saffron Restaurant handed heavy fine after inspection reveals a string of hygiene offences

The Saffron Restaurant, 36 Union Street, Stowmarket has been fined £15,000 for food hygiene offence

The Saffron Restaurant, 36 Union Street, Stowmarket has been fined £15,000 for food hygiene offences. - Credit: Contributed

The owners of a Suffolk restaurant have been handed a £15,000 fine after admitting to a string of hygiene offences at their establishment.

The Saffron Restaurant, 36 Union Street, Stowmarket has been fined £15,000 for food hygiene offence

The Saffron Restaurant, 36 Union Street, Stowmarket has been fined £15,000 for food hygiene offences. - Credit: Contributed

Four members of staff at The Saffron Restaurant in Union Street, Stowmarket, were immediately sacked after an unannounced inspection last September identified a number of issues including dirty premises and a lack of handwashing facilities.

The owner of the company, Ibrahim Ali and restaurant manager, Abdul Mukit, appeared, unrepresented, before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday where they pleaded guilty to six offences.

During the hearing, magistrates were shown pictures taken during the visit by a food and safety officer from Mid Suffolk District Council.

Other hygiene issues revealed during the visit were the lack of an implemented food safety management system, a lack of protective clothing, lack of staff training and dirty equipment.

Ali and Mukit admitted there were problems at the restaurant but claimed they were partly caused by staff failing to follow orders and the training they had been given.

The chairman of the bench said a manager was often not present and was not there on the day of the inspection.

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When given the fine, Ali and Mukit were told that because they had not acted on advice by the council, they had put the public health at risk.

John Grayling, corporate manager for food and safety said: “It is always disappointing when a food business ends up in court, but in Babergh and Mid Suffolk, food officers work hard to ensure all food businesses are compliant, and will take action when continued failings are found.”

Mukit, the manager of the restaurant said: “I would like to say that this happened last year and it was a three-week period we weren’t aware of.

“When we did come in all the dirty things had been put away.

“We have taken dramatic action and within two weeks, all the staff was changed and we were back to normality. We had another check and they were happy with the changes.

“We want to send a message that this was last year, it is not ongoing and we have put it behind us.”

Ali and Mukit will also be discussing the case with a solicitor to see if there is any appeal they could make.

Ali and Mukit were given credit for their guilty pleas and were fined a total of £2,500 for each offence – making a total fine of £15,000.

They were also ordered to pay costs of £1838.35 and a £120 victim surcharge.

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