TWO customers fell ill after eating at an Isle of Wight chippie — which has been fined more than £5,000 after routinely failing health and safety checks.

The directors of Sandown chip shop Fat Harry's, Gary Beaumont and Susan Margaret Cotton, appeared at the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court on Monday, where they pleaded guilty to multiple counts of failing to comply with EU food safety and hygiene regulations.

The court heard the High Street chip shop had failed seven inspections.

The charges were levelled against Beaumont, 51, of St John's Road, Sandown, Cotton, 67, of High Street, Sandown, and Fat Harry's as a business.

Prosecuting for the Isle of Wight Council, Samantha Rodgers said the premises were not kept clean, and were not maintained in good repair and condition.

Food surfaces and kitchen equipment were not properly cleaned, and fixtures were not maintained to prevent the accumulation of dirt and mould growth.

Staff were not provided with a sink or handwash to clean their hands.

Speaking in her own defence, Cotton said: "Our involvement as directors started eight years ago, Fat Harry's had hit financial problems when we agreed to take over as directors.

"We had no experience in any kind of food sales, we were under the impression we would take it over as directors in name only.

"I would often go to the front of house and see something that would make me think 'that's not right.'

"But the place had been financially struggling. At one point, the shop only had one customer in an entire day.

"After we started to receive the letters from the council, we did our utmost to put everything right.

"I just feel sorry we didn't pick up on things and that I wasn't more forceful.

"I suppose I was remiss in appreciating the seriousness of taking on directorship."

Presiding magistrate Paul Gane said: "These offences are aggravated by the fact they occurred over such a prolonged period of time.

"We have been told two illnesses were caused to the public as a result of the poor standards."

Fat Harry's was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay a surcharge of £181.

Beaumont was fined £853 and ordered to pay costs of £639 and an £85 surcharge.

Cotton was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs of £635 and a £25 surcharge.

Speaking after the case, Amanda Gregory, the council’s strategic manager for regulatory and community safety services, said: “Hygiene and safety standards are there to protect the health and safety of people that eat from food premises.

“The environmental health department has a good track record of working with businesses to resolve issues around food hygiene and safety for the benefit of the business and their customers.

“Sadly, despite many inspections, advice and formal notices from our officers over the years, this case wasn’t one that we were able to gain a sustained improvement, which is why we took the decision to prosecute.”

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