Mice and cockroach infestations found in Luton butchers' shop

The operators now have suspended prison sentences and the shop has new owners

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 2:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 2:20 pm
The butcher's shop on Marsh Road
The butcher's shop on Marsh Road

The operators of a Luton butchers' shop have been given suspended prison sentences and fined after a string of health and safety violations were found.

Khan Halal Butchers in Marsh Road was first closed in 2019 after a routine inspection from Luton Council's Food safety team found food hygiene issues and evidence of a mouse infestation.

During the inspection of the shop on Nursery Parade a council official found evidence of widespread mouse activity. There was no pest control contract and formal procedures to identify, manage and control pests in the business. Food hygiene standards relating to cleanliness and structure were deemed to be poor.

The business had not been registered with the council, a legal requirement. It was also not clear who was in charge of the food business.

A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served requiring the food business to close immediately, with the business being allowed to re-open once the rodent issue had been dealt with effectively. A written warning was also served requiring improvements to structural repair and finish and food safety management.

Five hygiene Improvement Notices were issued upon a revisit of the premises, where it was noted that the requirements within the written warning had not been complied with. Two of these notices were not complied with by the required date. An extension of time was granted, and the notices were finally complied with.

Evidence of a cockroach infestation and poor standards of cleanliness and hygiene was found during another council inspection in October 2020 and a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served for the second time, requiring the food business to again close immediately until the infestation had been treated.

Further visits throughout 2020 and 2021 to the premises indicated no real improvement in general food safety management, resulting in prosecution. The business has subsequently changed ownership, the food business currently operating from 12 Nursery Parade has no connection to Khan Halal butchers or its owners.

Appearing before Luton Magistrates court, Mohammad Shah and Azizullah Esaqzai, both of Biscot Road Luton, pleaded guilty to food hygiene offences and have been prohibited from operating a food business. Shah and Esaqzai were issued with a 6 month and 4 month prison sentence and suspended for 18 months and 12 months respectively for food hygiene offences. Both defendants were fined with statutory surcharge costs of £1,500 and £1,000 respectively.

Cllr Abbas Hussain, portfolio holder for Neighbourhood Services and Community Safety at Luton Council, said: “It is not only a legal requirement to properly register a food business with the council, but to also operate the business in such a manner as to protect public health. To have to be issued with one emergency closure notice for pest issues is bad enough, but twice is inexcusable.

"All food businesses must have permanent, ongoing and adequate procedures in place to monitor and control pests. We strongly advise that a permanent pest control monitoring and treatment contract is in place with a reputable, professional and competent pest control company. Effective pest control also includes having good standards of cleanliness and maintenance of equipment and surfaces with a good finish to walls, floors and ceilings. We will not hesitate to take action where businesses fail to put the safety of the public first.”

Food business operators should use reputable pest controllers that are registered with the British Pest Control Association or The National Pest Technical Association. Alternatively, businesses can obtain advice and guidance and use the Council’s own pest control traded service by contacting 01582 546814 or emailing [email protected].