Owner slammed over ‘filthy’ cafe

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This is the filthy state of a Kirkham cafe which earned the owner a hefty fine – as a judge expressed fears that the premises’ dirty and dilapidated state could have caused customers’ deaths.

Simon Billington, owner of the Two The Square Cafe, Market Square, Kirkham, was slammed as ‘irresponsible’ by District Judge David Purcell after pleading guilty to 17 breaches of food safety and hygiene laws.

Billington, who gave his home address as Pinewood Avenue, Bispham, was fined £1,200 with £1,000 costs and ordered to pay £120 victims surcharge by the judge sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

District Judge Purcell told him: “This was a seriously dilapidated cafe and there was a real risk the customers you were responsible for could have suffered injury, food poisoning or maybe death.

“It seems to me irresponsible of you not to have closed down the business when it was in such a poor state.”

Clare Lord, prosecuting for Fylde Council, said enforcement officers made a routine inspection at Two The Square Cafe on July 27 last year.

They found the premises dirty, hot, smoky, in poor repair and insects were flying about.

Equipment such as the microwave and fryer were filthy with dirt, grease and food debris.

There were chips on the floor and there was no artificial lighting in the kitchen as the only bulb had been removed.

Cardboard near electrical equipment in a storeroom posed a fire risk.

The ladies’ toilet was out of order leaving only one toilet for customers and staff.

In total, three notices were issued against Billington ordering him to improve the premises.

When officials visited again on the August 25 deadline they found the majority of the improvements had not been done.

The prosecutor said: “The council would say there was a high risk of an adverse effect to people.

“Customers using the cafe included the young, elderly and pregnant women.”

Billington, who had no previous convictions, said he had arranged to sell the cafe to a man who had been managing it for him.

At the last minute, the buyer pulled out and opened a cafe just down the road which took a lot of his business.

At the same time he was helping to care for his wife who had given birth to their first child by Caesarian section.

Billington, who runs a garage, said he tried to keep the cafe going but things went downhill and it became a mess.

He eventually rectified all the problems, but not within the specified time. He had lost about £30,000 on the cafe, which was now closed.