An Oldham takeaway owner has been banned from owning food businesses for life after rats were found jumping out of bins and cockroaches seen running across surfaces at his fried chicken shop.

Nzar Hassan, 47, the former owner of Montana Fried Chicken Ltd on Yorkshire Street, appeared at Tameside Magistrates Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to 14 food safety and hygiene offences and a further offence of misleading customers by displaying false information.

Hassan, of Water Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, was taken to court after food hygiene inspectors found that his takeaway had been overrun with cockroaches and rats during a series of inspections between December 2021 and February 2022.

The Bolton News: A photo taken inside the takeaway during an inspection A photo taken inside the takeaway during an inspection (Image: Oldham Council)

Samantha Cox, a hygiene inspector from Oldham Council, visited the premises on December 29, 2021.

In a witness statement that she read to the court, Ms Cox said that when she initially went to wash her hands at the takeaway the hot water tap “only trickled out”, which she said, “was not adequate for hand washing”, especially considering staff handle a lot of raw chicken.

She added that the taps were “dirty” and there were no hand drying facilities.

On looking around the takeaway Ms Cox saw mouse droppings near the fridge, on the floor, and on shelving near the chicken warmer.

The Bolton News: Droppings were found at the takeaway Droppings were found at the takeaway (Image: Oldham Council)

She also discovered dirty waste oil bins, outside bins overflowing with waste, fridge shelving covered in cardboard, food debris, and dirty and greasy equipment.

On entering the cellar of the takeaway Ms Cox found rat droppings and a build-up of unused/waste material. She ordered staff at the premises to carry out a deep clean and call out pest control immediately.

Following the visit, Hassan rang the council to say he wanted to apply for a rerating inspection and on January 26, 2022 an unannounced revisit was carried out.

During the visit Ms Cox noted that although some of the waste material had been removed from the cellar there were still rat droppings on the floor.

She went back upstairs to complete some paperwork and saw a “live German cockroach” running across one of the takeaway’s surfaces.

Ms Cox told the court: “I got some insect spray from my bag and sprayed it on the walls in this area and cockroaches ran from behind the stainless steel into gaps in the ceiling.

“Cockroaches carry diseases and don’t like the light so it’s an indication of a bad infestation if they are seen in the light.”

Due to the imminent risk to public health, she ordered the takeaway to close immediately.

The Bolton News: Dirty waste oil bins were found

A few days later on January 31, she revisited the premises and saw no signs of cockroaches, and evidence that pest control had visited, and cleaning had been carried out, so permitted the takeaway to reopen.

Staff were told that the five-star rating in the window should however be removed immediately.

Ms Cox revisited again on February 4 and noticed that staff were gathered near the equipment sink.

As she went to put her white coat on, she saw a live cockroach in the same area, and a tin of shop bought insect spray.

Ms Cox then discovered insect traps in the bin with dying cockroaches on them. Moments later she saw three rats jump out of an open bin just a foot from the back door.

The Bolton News: Dirty and greasy equipment was found at the takeaway Dirty and greasy equipment was found at the takeaway (Image: Oldham Council)

She ordered the business to close again for further cockroach treatment and left closure notice and a hand-written report at the takeaway.

The five-star rating was still in the window despite staff being advised to take it down, Ms Cox said.

The takeaway is now being run by new owners and was given a food hygiene rating of four stars at its most recent inspection on February, 23, 2022.

Back in 2019 Hassan was prosecuted after hygiene officers found mouse droppings and cockroaches at Montana Fried Chicken.

Food debris and grease on equipment was also found at the takeaway.

The Bolton News: Droppings found inside the takeaway in 2019Droppings found inside the takeaway in 2019 (Image: Oldham Council)

The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay contribution costs of £400 plus a victim surge of £170, paying an overall total of £2,570.

Hassan was also fined £416 and ordered to pay contribution costs of £400 plus a victim surge of £42, making a total of £858.

For his most recent offences, Hassan has been fined £2,769 and given a prohibition order, banning him from ever operating a food business.

The 47-year-old was also ordered to pay Oldham Council's costs of £1,175 and a victim surcharge of £196. His company, Montana Fried Chicken Ltd, was meanwhile fined £25,000.

After the case, Cllr Chris Goodwin, cabinet member for neighbourhoods from Oldham council, said: “We expect all food businesses to uphold the highest hygiene standards and most do but unfortunately, in the case of Mr Hassan and his company, they committed several offences relating to food safety, including displaying the wrong hygiene rating which is totally unacceptable.

“Despite working with Mr Hassan to improve standards of food safety, Mr Hassan continually committed similar offences over time, and we welcome the court's decision and hope this serves as a warning to others.”