No fine for owner of filthy café

Linda Gaunt, 46, who runs the Bijou Cafe, Ovenden, pleaded guilty to 20 breaches of the Food Hygiene Regulations
Linda Gaunt, 46, who runs the Bijou Cafe, Ovenden, pleaded guilty to 20 breaches of the Food Hygiene Regulations
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A café owner who admitted a string of health and safety breaches has been given a conditional discharge by a crown court judge.

Judge David Hatton QC decided against fining Linda Gaunt, 46, of Myrtle Drive, Illingworth, for offences relating to the hygiene of the Bijou Cafe in Ovenden.

Bijou cafe

Bijou cafe

Bradford Crown Court heard environmental health officers for Calderdale Council had issued repeated improvement notices from January 2011.

Kieron Green, prosecting, said on November 23 an inspector found breaches including no hot water in the kitchen or toilets, filthy surfaces where the inspector could write his initials in the grease and a dead insect next to food in the fridge.

John Bumfrey, mitigating, said Gaunt’s 33-year relationship with her husband had broken down led to her having problems at the cafe, which she ran with no other staff.

He said Gaunt had no previous convictions, felt “very bad” about the offences and had lost her good name as a result.

The case had been referred to the crown court by Calderdale magistrates after they had mistakenly sentenced her beyond their powers in an earlier hearing by intially giving her 150 hours’ unpaid work.

The maximum sentence they could have imposed was a £5,000 .

The judge gave Gaunt a conditional discharge on 20 counts, for two years, and ordered her to pay £250 costs. He accepted not guilty pleas to a further two offences.

He told Gaunt: “I’m satisfied that throughout your life you have been a proud, hard-working woman. It seems to me that your running of this cafe simply got too much for you, coming as it did with a difficult personal life, with the break up of your relationship. “I don’t think for one moment that you set out to flout the law or to have premises as bad as these clearly were. It’s simply the case that you could not cope and had a great deal on your mind.”

He added: “It is of course a serious matter to keep unclean and unhealthy premises like this, which could have been a danger to the public. But there’s no evidence before me that that occurred.

“No-one was injuriously affected.”