Man who ran 'filthy' Halifax store given zero hygiene stars gave health inspectors a false name

A Halifax shop-owner gave health inspectors a false name when they visited his business because he feared he would get into trouble for the “filthy” store.
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And Nadeem Butt maintained the false identity for over a month – a court was told.

Butt, 45, runs Afzal Food Store on Battinson Road in Halifax.

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On Thursday, Butt admitted to eight food hygiene offences in an appearance at Bradford Magistrates Court, including obstructing inspectors in their investigation.

Pictures from Afzal Food Store in HalifaxPictures from Afzal Food Store in Halifax
Pictures from Afzal Food Store in Halifax

Calderdale Council’s environmental health officers visited the store on November 29, 2022, when they discovered the business has changed ownership without the council being informed.

During their visit they encountered Butt, the owner of the business.

However, he identified himself as Waseem Butt – a manager of the store.

He said Nadeem Butt was out of the country at the time.

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Kate Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of Calderdale Council, said: “They observed the shop to be filthy.

“There was dirty cardboard on the floor. They observed evidence of a rodent infestation. The store stank of an offensive smell.”

They opted to close the store and issue a prohibition notice, which was fixed to the store window.

The council later received a call from Butt’s phone number. When answered, a woman told council officers the notice had been removed.

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Officers revisited the store, as removing such a notice is an offence in itself, and re-fixed a new notice.

Butt maintained the façade that he was Waseem Butt, and had taken responsibility for the shop while Nadeem Butt was abroad.

There appeared to have been no attempt made to rectify the issues raised by the inspection, and Butt told officers he didn’t wish to speak to them again.

Mrs Stevens told magistrates that Butt eventually admitted he was Nadeem Butt on January 4. She added: “He claimed he gave a false name because he didn’t want to get into trouble.”

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She said Butt refused further help from the environmental health department but had argued he had made improvements in recent months.

Inspectors revisited the store in November, and although there was no longer evidence of an infestation, they did find 30 items of out of date food.

The business was given a food hygiene rating of 0. Mrs Stevens added: “He said he was happy with the inspection and will make improvements in due course."

Mr Lee, defending, said: “This was his first time involved in running a shop. He accepts giving a false name was wrong. He was worried about getting into trouble, it was not a case of setting out to deceive the local authority.”

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He said the food sold in the store was all packaged, only potatoes and onions were loose.

Mr Lee added: “It is not the case that there were rodents running across meat.”

He said Butt was in the process of selling the store, and he would not be the owner for much longer.

Sentencing Butt, chair of the bench Peter Smith said: “What makes these matters worse is your obstruction of justice.”

Magistrates fined Butt £400 and ordered him to pay a £400 fine, £220 costs and a £165 surcharge.