Suspended prison sentence for Wantage restaurant owner
The owner of a restaurant in Wantage has been handed a suspended prison sentence after admitting numerous food safety and hygiene breaches.
On Friday 17 November at Oxford Magistrates’ Court, Masum Miah, owner of Masooms, 14 Wallingford Street, Wantage, received a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years and 200 hours of unpaid work, to be completed within 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £4,059 costs a victim surcharge of £154.
Mr Miah had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing on 20 October 2023 to ten charges relating to food hygiene offences at the premises during 2022.
During a series of inspections between 16 August and 14 November 2022, officers from Vale of White Horse District Council found repeated evidence of a rat infestation. Food was also uncovered and not protected from potential contamination, there was dirty and damaged equipment in the kitchen, no hot water at the hand washing basin and for cleaning equipment, and no system in place to ensure safe food management.
Due to the imminent risk to public health, Mr Miah was twice required to close the premises during the inspection period. During one of the closures, the premises were then found to be open.
Mr Miah had a history of poor food safety compliance at the Wantage premises. Following the breaches in 2022, to ensure that a food management system would be put in place before the premises could reopen, officers issued Mr Miah with a Hygiene Improvement Notice.
Thankfully, improvements have since been made at Masooms and, in December 2022, the restaurant was awarded a 3 Food Hygiene Rating (generally satisfactory).
In court, District Judge Rana agreed that he had been highly culpable for offences found at Masooms. He had adopted a blasé attitude to the situation, failing to take any responsibility at the time and blaming others for the situation.
Cllr Mark Coleman, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Waste at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “The number one priority for all food businesses is to ensure that that their food is safe to eat and that their premises meet all hygiene requirements. Any business that fails to do this puts the public at risk and we will not hesitate to take immediate and serious action against them.”
To check a premises’ food hygiene rating, visit – ratings.food.gov.uk.
To find out more about food premises inspections and how to report a food safety or hygiene concern, please visit the Vale of White Horse page on Food safety and hygiene – information for residents.
Notes for editors:
The charges brought against Masum Miah were laid under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.