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Store owner jailed for food hygiene offences

Store owner jailed for food hygiene offences

A Montpelier convenience store owner has been jailed for seven months after pleading guilty to eight offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

24 August 2021

Saghir Ahmed, a former director of Picton Stores Ltd, Bath Buildings, in Montpelier, who had previously been subject to a suspended prison sentence, failed to carry out basic improvements to food hygiene practices over an eleven-month period.

The store owner had previously been convicted of twelve food safety and hygiene offences in 2019 in relation to a nearby store and been subject to a court order prohibiting him from participating in the management of any food business, which he breached by running Picton Stores Ltd. However, in an attempt to evade that order, ownership of the store was transferred to his wife.

Bristol City Council environmental health officers had served hygiene improvement notices on the business, requiring a stock rotation system to be put in place and the store to be made pest-proof. 

However, council officers removed food found to be past its use-by date on several occasions, of which some was rotten. Other issues highlighted included a lack of sanitary facilities, no hot water or cleaning materials including soap for store workers, lack of staff training and the state of disrepair on the premises. 

Despite four years of repeated visitors from environmental health officers, the owners consistently refused to carry out repairs and do basic checks in what was a busy community store used regularly by a number of vulnerable people.

On sentencing, the judge commented that the offences Mr Ahmed was sentenced for in 2019, “…bluntly turned my stomach. Offences for this sentence similarly turn my stomach.”

Councillor Nicola Beech, cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health issues, said: “It is our duty to protect the public where sub-standard food and hygiene practices may be in operation and this case highlights a number of repeated failures to manage food safety.

“Our environmental health teams are committed to taking action where the required standards are not being met and where there is a lack of co-operation from owners.

“Since the council’s first visit in July 2017 the owner has made no progress to make improvements or protect their customers.”

Food Safety issues can be reported to Bristol City Council by email on food.safety@bristol.gov.uk or by telephone: 0117 922 2500. Or via the Food Standards Agency web page.

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