THE boss of an Ellesmere Port takeaway has pleaded guilty to 11 food safety and hygiene failings.

Saeid Mehdi Hosseini Zavereh, 48, of Whitby Road, Ellesmere Port, admitted the offences when he appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on Wednesday, February 17.

The court heard he is the 'one-man band' behind the Tuscano takeaway, which sells wood-fired pizzas, kebabs and burgers.

But on two separate visits in early 2020, officers from Cheshire West and Chester Council's environmental health team found numerous failings which put staff and customers at risk of food poisoning.

Zavereh admitted two counts of failing to ensure food was protected against contamination which was likely to render food unfit for human consumption, two counts of failing to ensure articles/equipment which came into contact with food were in good condition, failing to provide hygienic drying facilities at hand wash basins, failing to to maintain the food premises in a clean condition and good repair, failing to ensure wall surfaces were in a sound condition, failing to provide adequate lighting, failing to register the food business with the council and failing to put in place suitable food safety and hygiene procedures.

He also admitted a charge from the environmental health officers' second visit on March 18, 2020, of failing to ensure sufficient ventilation at the takeaway, but denied the same offence from the officers' first visit on February 26, 2020.

The 11 counts admitted were accepted by the prosecution, with the other ventilation charge withdrawn.

A separate indictment of the same 12 offences leveraged against Zavereh's trading company, Yousef Food Limited, was also withdrawn as the court heard Zavereh and the company were effectively one and the same.

Prosecuting on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Ian Moore said the environmental health teams found "all sorts of issues" during their visits to the Whitby Road takeaway, and while Zavereh hadn't maliciously committed the offences, he was "wilfully blind to the many hygiene issues".

Among the issues found were raw food being stored next to cooked and/or ready-to-serve food, as well as dirt and food debris on many contact surfaces which the court heard could be home to bacteria such as salmonella and listeria.

The premises was described as "filthy", with District Judge Nicholas Sanders remarking, after viewing photos of the officers' visit, the place looked "truly revolting".

He added: "It's enough to turn your stomach."

Defending, Stephen Ferns said it was a busy takeaway with a lot of footfall, and there had not been any examples of complaints of anybody falling ill with food poisoning, although he accepted that may have been "more luck than judgment".

At the time of the offences, Zavereh was travelling back and forth between Ellesmere Port and visiting his parents in Iran, one of whom had since passed away.

As a result, he had "taken his eye off the ball" and was unable to maintain the standards required.

Since the inspections, Zavereh had invested time, money and effort in bringing the takeaway venue up to the required standards, which Mr Moore agreed there had been improvements.

He was also looking to exit the business in the next year, having "had enough".

The case was adjourned until next month for more details to be obtained. The court heard the case may yet head to Chester Crown Court for sentencing if the charges were deemed too serious to be sentenced at the magistrates court.

Zavereh was released on unconditional bail.