Owner of Portchester Chinese takeaway fined £6,500 for 'filthy' restaurant

A CHINESE takeaway owner landed himself in boiling water with environmental health officers when he requested a re-visit to boost his flagging hygiene rating – only for the restaurant to be condemned for its ‘filthy’ state.

By Steve Deeks
Friday, 25th October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 26th October 2019, 5:14 pm

Da Lam Ly, operator of The Light Chinese Takeaway in Jubilee Avenue, Portchester, was told to pay a fine and costs totally nearly £6,500 when he appeared before Portsmouth magistrates for his ‘sustained’ deficiencies.

The dishevelled 59-year-old, wearing a brown fleece in the dock, was shot down by city magistrates for his actions which could have had ‘very serious implications for customers’.

The court heard how Ly had downed tools with his crimes including failing to record allergens in food – putting the health of customers at risk.

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A filthy extension cable in the kitchen Picture: Portsmouth City Council

It was part of a wide scale dereliction of duty from the owner after the premises and equipment used for cooking and preparing food were found to be dirty.

There was a risk of contamination with raw food not stored in appropriate conditions, while staff were not trained or made to wear relevant clothing, Portsmouth City Council environmental health officers found in October 2018.

Prosecutor Ben Atrill said ‘substantial elements were not maintained’ with ‘food debris and mould’ found in the takeaway where dirty containers were discovered throughout along with ‘food dripping down onto work surfaces’.

He said: ‘The ventilation duct was filthy with grease leaking from the joint. There was a large amount of rubbish in the rear yard which could potentially encourage vermin.

Food hygiene case court today The Light Chinese Takeaway, 37 Jubilee Avenue, Portsmouth. Poor storage of preparation boards on a dirty shelf with rusty tools.

‘Officers found dirty food mixers on a food preparation board, while there was uncovered raw meat.’

Mr Atrill told the court how Ly was given a food hygiene rating of ‘2’ following a visit from environmental health officers in March 2018 before requesting a re-visit in October later in the year when they found the takeaway, which turns over £112,000 a year, in a worse condition.

‘There was a significant and imminent risk to all customers. It’s possible food was served to vulnerable groups,’ Mr Atrill said.

The prosecutor said Ly had a previous conviction for sexual assault in 2014.

Grease and food debris around preparation surface in kitchen

The defendant, who pleaded guilty to seven charges of failing to comply with food hygiene, pleaded with magistrates to be lenient with him – blaming problems on staffing.

‘I fully understand I have committed some offences,’ he said. ‘The main difficulty I have had is finding suitable staff to work in the kitchen with many not speaking very good English making it hard to communicate.’

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Ly also said he had spent £5,000 on revamping The Light Chinese and employed new staff, helping to make the premises cleaner, as well as recording allergens in all 116 items in a new menu.

Food hygiene case court today The Light Chinese Takeaway, 37 Jubilee Avenue, Portsmouth. Dirty apron being worn by food handler

Chairman of the bench Martin Horn told Ly: ‘There were major deficiencies of hygiene standards of your takeaway over a sustained period which could have had very serious implications for customers.’

Ly was fined £4,900, and told to pay costs of £1,404.83 and a surcharge of £180.

The takeaway has a food hygiene rating of ‘1’ following the visit in October in 2018.

Ginger in a dirty food container Picture: Portsmouth City Council
Food hygiene case court today The Light Chinese Takeaway, 37 Jubilee Avenue, Portsmouth. Cooked rice left uncovered and at ambient temperature on low level shelf under cooker.
Uncovered chicken defrosting in a dirty bowl on a low level shelf under a preparation table. Picture: Portsmouth City Council