A BUSINESSMAN fined thousands over dirty conditions at his food shop has had his fine slashed by a judge.
Osman Ahmed was fined £7,356 after inspectors found poor conditions at the firm he owned, Dylan Food Store in Fratton Road, Fratton.
They found raw meat stored next to ready-to-eat food at the store, where fresh naan bread is also prepared.
And they discovered workers had been using a dirty rag to clean an oven.
But a judge, sitting with two magistrates, has cut his fine to just £480 after taking into account his guilty pleas.
Ahmed, 44, had pleaded guilty to 11 charges under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013 – nine relating to failing to comply with EU Hygiene Regulations and two of failing to comply with hygiene improvement notices.
But the judge reduced the sentence to just £120 each for four counts, and ordered no separate penalty should be paid for the rest.
Portsmouth magistrates had ordered him to pay £1,736 in costs but this was also reduced to £1,000 with a £48 victim surcharge.
Rachael Dalby, Portsmouth City Council’s director of community safety, said: ‘We always try to work with businesses but when one continually fails to engage with us we will prosecute as a last resort, and the consequences of that are a matter for the courts.
‘We are very pleased to hear the judge’s praise for our environmental health team’s efforts to support and work with businesses to safeguard the public.’
Ahmed – who released photos of his cleaned-up shop to The News – had failed to make full improvements despite being ordered to twice by the council, which then prosecuted him.
At the time sentencing magistrate Peter Mellor said: ‘We’ve heard of a litany of failures and despite instruction and orders for your to improve matters it’s only very recently that you seem to have done so.
‘For some years that shop has shown a blatant disregard for the health and safety not only of its staff but its customers.’
Ahmed, of Buckingham Green, Portsmouth, had become the owner on October 20, 2014 with the shop inspected in November 18 of that year.
He did make improvements to clean up the premises.