MAGISTRATES have fined a takeaway boss £525 after he pleaded guilty to 12 food hygiene offences.
Wasim Raja, who runs Pizza Xpress & Balti in Paley Road, Holme Wood, blamed his inability to read and write English on not being able to educate his staff, said his solicitor Arshad Khan yesterday.
Bradford and Keighley Magistrates heard how a routine council inspection found a catalogue of contraventions from a faulty tap and no hand-washing soap to badly marked chopping boards and frozen food wrapped in dirty plastic blankets.
Light switches, hand basin taps and the food mixer were filthy, soiled food containers were kept on rusty fridge shelves and food debris was found on the tin opener.
A back door at the premises which led directly into the food room was left open with no protection against pests.
Raja of Kenley Mount, who was accompanied by an interpretor, had also failed to register himself as the boss of the business.
Inspectors visited a number of other times to get improvements made and a plan drawn up to follow food hygiene regulations, however on the final visit in December 2013 no issues were raised.
Mr Khan told the court: "You will be comforted to know he had taken active steps to improve and deal with all the issues that arose from that inspection.
"The issue he found most difficult y in was monitoring the temperatures and a plan to educate his staff because of his own inability to read and write English.
"By pleading guilty he has also lost his good name and wants to apologise to the court for the trouble caused. This has been a salutary lesson. He knows he needs to devote his time to his business and you can be sure he won't be coming back to these courts again."
Bradford and Keighley Magistrates took into account Raja's income after paying bills, they fined him £250 plus £250 contribution to costs and a £25 victim surcharge, totalling £525.