THE operators of a Chinese takeaway have been ordered to pay almost £12,000 after council officers found the premises in filthy conditions.

Manager An Le and owner Mohammed Riaze, of zero food hygiene rated Panda Chinese, were successfully prosecuted by Winchester City Council (WCC) after they did not make the necessary improvements as required.

Portsmouth Magistrates' Court heard how the business in Wickham Square was found to have poor levels of cleanlinesses during three separate visits by council food safety officers earlier this year.

The officers found food debris, grease and dirt on surfaces and equipment at the premises.

They also discovered poor drainage and structural problems with the floor, shelving and rear storage area.

Le and Riaze both pleaded guilty to failing to comply with food safety requirements.

Le was fined £2154 and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and £6495 costs. Riaze was fined £613 and ordered to pay a £61 victim surcharge and £2500 costs.

Speaking after the successful prosecution, WCC cabinet member for built environment and wellbeing Cllr Jackie Porter, said: “Food businesses that repeatedly fail to comply with food safety standards will inevitably face prosecution as a final outcome. It is important that we ensure this legislation is followed and we will always seek to prosecute in cases like this where the safety of our residents is at risk.”

“This sends out a strong message that this council does not tolerate poor food hygiene standards and the consequences are very serious.

“The council plays an important role in protecting residents and this includes constant vigilance on the huge variety of food establishments that sell food right across the district.”