Takeaway boss escapes prison sentence

A takeaway boss convicted of keeping contaminated food in his filthy kitchen was spared a prison sentence yesterday, but was banned from running a food business for five years.

A takeaway boss convicted of keeping contaminated food in his filthy kitchen was spared a prison sentence yesterday but banned from running a food business for five years.

Lee Sun, 24, previously pleaded guilty to 37 charges in relation to Lee's Takeaway in London Road South, Lowestoft, and had been warned that the seriousness of the offences could lead to a jail term.

However, after reading a pre-sentence report, magistrates opted to make him carry out 220 hours of unpaid work in the community and ordered him to pay costs of �260.

Tony Burgess, principal environ-mental health officer at Waveney District Council, said after yesterday's hearing at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court: "The main point of impact is that he has been banned from running a food business anywhere in the UK... He has proved himself dangerous to the public and it is only right he should be stopped."

James Hartley, prosecuting for the council, said the charges against Sun were brought after three visits from officials during the autumn. He had previously been warned about the state of the premises.

Food safety officer Paul Goldsmith and colleague Helen Collis did a full inspection on September 4. The most serious offences involved contaminated food. Egg-coated squid and cucumber were covered in slime and coconut milk was contaminated with green and blue mould. Cooked rice was stored at 11C above the recommended temperature and many items of kitchen equipment were covered in grease and food debris.

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A follow-up visit on October 17 discovered further offences, including cooked chicken and prawns being stored with raw prawns, and a filthy microwave.

Mr Hartley said conditions had improved by the time of a third inspection 10 days later, although there were still issues of concern and Sun was found smoking on the premises for the second time.

The two smoking offences were among the 37 convictions. It is the first time someone has been prosecuted in Waveney for allowing smoking in a business premises.

Sun moved to Britain from China 10 years ago. The court heard he was now living with his family in Ilford, Essex. He was the proprietor of the business which closed shortly after the third inspection.

Kelly Fernandez-Lee, for Sun, said apart from occasional help from his father, her client ran the takeaway alone. "He has undertaken a business, which has spiralled out of control due to his lack of experience," she said. But she added: "I wouldn't wish to eat in that place… and I'm sure the people of Lowestoft wouldn't want to eat in that place."

She said Sun had not intended to use the contaminated food for sale to the public.

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