THE owner of an Indian restaurant in Helsby has been fined £5,170 for food hygiene offences, which included leaving chicken out overnight wrapped in newspaper.

Abul Kashem, 41, of Helsby Spice on Chester Road, pleaded guilty to six offences under food safety and hygiene legislation.

Chester Magistrates Court heard that during an inspection officers found poor standards of cleanliness and an “accumulations of food debris”.

There were contamination risks, kitchen equipment in a poor condition, chicken left out overnight covered with newspaper, dirty surfaces, problems with pest control and issues with food temperature control in the fridge.

The magistrates took account of Kashem’s difficult financial circumstances by fining him only for the most serious offence - leaving the cooked chicken out overnight.

Kashem, of Northmoor Road, Longsight, Manchester, was ordered to pay a total of £5,170, consisting of a £3,350 fine, £1,650 prosecution costs, and a court surcharge of £170.

Cheshire West and Chester Council's cabinet member for environment, Cllr Karen Shore, said: “Food Safety Officers from our Regulatory Services Team work proactively to help business owners comply with legislation and meet hygiene standards.

“The poor standards in this restaurant could have had serious consequences but the safety of customers must be the top priority for any food business.

“If financial problems begin to affect the safety of your customers, it may be better to consider closure, rather than put health and business reputation at risk.

“The vast majority of food establishments in Cheshire West operate to a high standard and serve their customers well. We have a duty to them and to the public to take effective action where others do not make the same effort.”