There must be no doubt about what is required

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Like many in the catering industry, Li Hong Sun harboured a dream of one day being her own boss.

All through the years that she and her chef husband worked in the kitchens of other businesses, they looked forward to running their own takeaway.

So they must have been excited when they finally opened Mayfair Chinese in Castle Road, Southsea in 2013.

It was their big chance to be masters of their own destiny, to reap the rewards of their hard work.

The problem was that the dream turned into a nightmare because they didn’t pay enough attention to the basics of cleanliness.

Yet again, we report today on a takeaway that has been fined thousands of pounds for breaching hygiene regulations.

After a complaint, inspectors visited Mayfair Chinese and found problems including mouse droppings in a box of vegetables by a freezer, grime-covered walls, noodles stored in a toilet doorway and a dirty chopping board.

Of course, this was totally unacceptable and Mr and Mrs Sun could hardly have any complaint at being hit with a £3,000 fine plus £870 in costs.

But Chris du Boulay, who represented them in court, raised an interesting point when he said ‘they were somewhat inexperienced from the start’ and that they had ‘learned the hard way’ about the importance of hygiene.

How many others dream of running their own restaurant or takeaway, but don’t spend enough time ensuring their premises are clean and safe before opening the doors?

Laziness or ignorance is no defence. But it seems to us that more education is needed so that anybody running a business where food is prepared and cooked is left in absolutely no doubt about the standards required.