Hucknall butcher vows to fight back after ‘unfair’ sentencing for poor hygiene

A photo snapped by an inspector.
A photo snapped by an inspector.

Bosses at a Hucknall butchers have vowed to stand up for their business and win back support from customers after being slapped with a one-star hygiene rating and court costs of more than £6,000.

Flies, dirty aprons and raw meat being prepared on a “ready to eat” counter were some of the issues Environmental Health officers say they encountered when they inspected C. Cassidy and Sons this year.

Owner Christoper Cassidy, who has been at the helm of the Watnall Road business for 26 years, later pleaded guilty to ten charges under food hygiene regulations at Nottingham Crown Court in September and was ordered to pay a £1,500 fine along with costs of £4,671.

Sentencing the business owner, Recorder Martine Kushner said the shop was in a “very poor state” and that there had been “some serious failures”.

But Christopher’s son, Aston, who also works at the shop, has since rushed to his father’s defence - claiming the sentence and a one-star hygiene rating from inspectors are “unfair” and have left the family feeling “angry and deflated”.

Aston said the business had complied with requests from inspectors, taking urgent steps to upgrade pest control, food preparation and cleaning.

The shop is also undergoing a “major refit” in a bid to meet health and safety standards.

Aston added: “We are proud of our business and are very grateful for the customers we have each week.

“We hope to be up and running within the next six weeks and will be having an open day to access all areas of the shop.

“We feel we have every right to stand up for what we work so hard for.”

However, Councillor Nicole Ndiweni, portfolio holder for community safety engagement at Ashfield District Council, said officers had made “every effort” to help Mr Cassidy improve his business, and added: “Preparing food in a dirty environment can lead to serious illness and even death.”

The butchers attempted to reassure customers in a Facebook post:

“Since the January inspection we have refreshed the staff hygiene training, and myself and my dad have been on an intense Level 4 health and hygiene in management course,” Aston said in the post.Since then more than 200 comments in support of the business have poured in from customers. Jules Walker posted: “We’ve always supported local businesses rather than big supermarkets. “Chris,and family are kind and welcoming and I hope everyone supports them. I have had meat from them for years and never had any issues.”

Colleen Mcmanus said: “My grandad was a butcher. I see absolutely nothing wrong with your dad’s apron. He was working.”

Shelshauna Kirkpatrick-Yallop said: “I use the butchers on the occasion that I buy meat. It’s always been clean. I have never had cause for concern.”