Former St Albans chicken restaurant owner appeals against food hygiene fines

Murgano's restaurant

Murgano's restaurant - Credit: Archant

The former owner of a St Albans chicken takeaway who was fined more than £20,000 for food hygiene offences has won an appeal against the judge’s decision in court.

Food hygiene breaches at Murgano's in St Albans.

Food hygiene breaches at Murgano's in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

Ibrar Ahmed, 42, who used to run Murgano’s fried chicken restaurant in Victoria Street, appeared at St Albans Crown Court yesterday to appeal against the £20, 791.56 fine he received in May.

An inspection at the restaurant by the council’s environmental health officers in May found Ahmed to be in breach of numerous food hygiene regulations. Chicken was cooked at too low a temperature, there was a risk of cross-contamination from thermometers, and surfaces, sinks and equipment were dirty. Staff were not trained properly in handling food, and did not wear protective clothing or wash their hands enough.

Ahmed, of Armitage Gardens in Luton, pleaded guilty to the offences and was given a Hygiene Protection Order because of the risks he posed to public health.

Simon Gledhill, prosecuting, said: “Prosecution was a last resort but the council had no choice other than to prosecute in this particular case.

Food hygiene breaches at Murgano's in St Albans.

Food hygiene breaches at Murgano's in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

“Given the number of opportunities Mr Ahmed had to rectify the problem very few of them were acted upon.”

The restaurant was originally owned by Ahmed’s brother, Nisar Hussein, who the council took legal action against in 2015.

Most Read

Alex Cameron, defending Ahmed, explained that he was trying to provide for his wife and five-year-old son back in Pakistan.

He said: “The costs should be something that the defendant has the means to pay.

“His aim has always been to earn significant capital to bring his wife and son to the UK.

“This has had quite an effect on Mr Ahmed. He has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure. He made a decision which he regrets and he accepts responsibility for his actions.”

Recorder David Altaras lowered Ahmed’s fine to £10,450. He said: “This offence was motivated by financial gain. The premises have a long history of unsatisfactory hygiene. There was a refusal of free advice and training from the local authority.

“The most significant mitigating factor of the case is the appellant’s early plea of guilty to all the offences. The overall figure is not too high having regard to the very serious nature of these offences.

“The sooner these premises are closed the better.”