A FISH and chip shop where mouldy potatoes rotted in filthy conditions and rancid meat languished in fridges has been temporarily closed by a court.
North Devon Magistrates’ Court heard conditions at the Meddon Street Chippy in Bideford posed an imminent risk to public health.
Daryl Littlejohns, Torridge District Council’s food and safety manager, told the court the business was subject to a routine inspection on October 10.
He said it was immediately obvious that the premises was not fit for purpose.
He said: “One of our officers met Peter Williams, the food business operator, at the premises.
“The shop was filthy and cluttered. Lettuce, bread and cucumber lay on dirty surfaces.
“The wash basin was dirty, there were rotten potatoes in a bag on the floor and chips were being processed in filthy conditions.”
Mr Littlejohns said the inspector found what he thought was a bag of chicken in the fridge but it actually turned out to be fish which had gone off a long time ago.
He said: “I explained to Mr Williams that he could not operate a business like this.
“The premises was dirty, there was an imminent risk to public health and there was a definite risk of food being contaminated by foreign bodies.
“Anyone with any sense could not have let them continue trading.”
The court heard Mr Williams was cautioned about the offence while environmental health officers collected evidence at the premises, including 63 photos.
Officers closed the business under an order which lasts for three days.
However, Mr Littlejohns appeared in court to request a hygiene emergency prohibition notice which means the business must remain closed until environmental health officers are satisfied that health risks have improved and the situation is being managed.
Presiding magistrate Roger Jacksoncorr said: “We have listened to what has been said in court today and seen many photos of the evidence.
“We are content to grant this order.”
Speaking outside court Mr Littlejohns said: “We will continue to pay regular visits to the business to make sure the food business operator is on top of things.
“If he wishes to reopen the premises he will have to apply to do so through the council.”
The Journal was unable to contact Mr Williams.
On Monday afternoon there was a sign in the window of the Meddon Street Chippy which read “This shop is now closed, thank you for your custom.”