Filthy conditions ‘put lives at risk’

Dirty pallets and a cigerette end in the storeroom at Oban Fish Selling, Fleetwood.
Dirty pallets and a cigerette end in the storeroom at Oban Fish Selling, Fleetwood.

A Fleetwood seafood processing company which supplies customers throughout the North West placed lives at

risk because their premises.

Dirty wall and work surfaces in the smoked fish packaging room at Oban Fish Selling, Fleetwood.

Dirty wall and work surfaces in the smoked fish packaging room at Oban Fish Selling, Fleetwood.

The Oban Fishing Selling Company based, on Herring Arm Road on Fleetwood dock, was ordered to pay £15,380 in fines and costs after the firm and two directors admitted nine Food Safety and Hygiene breaches.

The firm, which has an annual turnover of over £3.2 million, was hauled before Blackpool Magistrates’ Court after being prosecuted by Wyre Council.

Mary Grimshaw, prosecuting for Wyre Council told how the company’s bosses Paul and Mark Wilson had failed to respond to warnings and an official caution about the state of their premises and the lack of paper-work.

Managing director Paul Wilson insisted that improvement had been made and spoke of difficult working conditions.

But Mrs Grimshaw said health inspectors found fish fillets being stored in brine prior to smoke and in the brine were pieces of polystyrene which caused a risk of contamination to the food.

She said that staff had little or no training in hygiene regulations with seafood stored in freezers without labels or dates on them.

She said that the premises themselves were “filthy” with no proper washing facilities for staff or fish hawkers arriving there to pick up loads.

There were dead insects on flypapers above food and council staff found cigarette ends in one area.

The Wilsons represented themselves in court and PaulWilson told the hearing:”We have made improvements.

“I bought this business ten years ago and tried to make a go of it.

“I knew we had to do something or just close down.You cannot train up staff in this town- they don’t

really want to know the unsocial hours.

“Our landlords have put us on a six month rolling lease which means there is little security of tenure

and little incentive for us as accompany.

“We were promised a new building in the new fish park but that is not going to happen now.”

Fining the firm magistrates told the Wilsons there were clear implications for public health and that

the directors semmed to havetaken little responsibility themselves.

After the hearing Neil Greenwood, head of Environmental Health and Community Safety at Wyre Council, said: “Wyre Council takes food hygiene very seriously and if premises don’t comply we have no option but to consider formal action.

“However we do want to help businesses achieve compliance and always encourage proprietors to work with us.”

All food businesses are inspected by Wyre Council and last year (2016/17), of a total of 1,116 in the borough, 93% were broadly compliant with food safety and hygiene regulations.