The owner of a rat-infested kebab shop in Hove has been banned from running a food business.
Muharrem Kartal, 52, of Tumulus Road, Saltdean, was also given an eight-month suspended prison sentence by Judge Janet Waddicor at Lewes Crown Court.
She ordered him to carry out 180 hours unpaid work after he admitted 43 offences of breaching food safety laws.
The court was told that food hygiene inspectors found a catalogue of horrors when he ran the Golden Fried Chicken (GFC) kebab house, in Church Road, Hove.
The father of two
- had dead rats under a cupboard under the stairs
- left the servery covered in thick black deposits of grease as well as chips, other food and cardboard
- had fat dripping from cooking equipment
- allowed filthy boards used for chopping raw chicken to be used for cutting salads as well
- failed to supply hot running water for staff to wash their hands
Judge Waddicor praised Brighton and Hove City Council food safety officers for catching Kartal and ensuring that he faced prosecution.
She said that it must have been “very unpleasant to have to attend, take the photographs and see and smell these premises”.
Councillor Gill Mitchell, who chairs the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “Like Judge Waddicor, I want to praise all our staff involved in this case. They worked tirelessly to bring this man to court and seal a conviction.
“Our residents and tourists now know there is one less person out there who will knowingly selling food from a shop that is filthy, rat infested and extremely dangerous to health.
“It also send a clear message to anyone else who’s prepared to sell our residents and tourists potentially harmful food – we’re watching you, we’ll catch you and we’ll prosecute you.”
Judge Waddicor told Kartal that the offences were extremely serious after he had told probation officers “nobody was in danger as I have been in business 28 years and not killed anybody”.
The conviction is only the second time that the council’s environmental health department has succeeded in an application to the court for a prohibition order to ban someone from running or being involved in the management of a food outlet.
Kartal, who had been running GFC since 2002, had failed to address the poor hygiene over several visits by the council’s food safety officers from November 2017 to January 2018.
He had also placed a food hygiene rating “Score on the Door” of three out of five despite being warned not to by the council.
Kartal had previously been convicted of identical offences in 2012. He pleaded guilty to the new offences in May this year.
The lease on GFC has been repossessed as well as the two residential properties he rented out above the shop.
In April 2017, Kartal was fined £45,000, the biggest fine to date, for breaching housing regulations after “putting people’s lives at risk” by cramming tenants into overcrowded rooms at 28 Church Road.
The renting of these properties saw Kartal pocket £139,000 a year which he collected in cash.