Food Businesses Scam Warning

Food businesses in Hackney are being warned about a scam currently operating in the Borough.

Some cafes and restaurants have received letters, which claim to be from Hackney Council’s Public Affairs department. They demand £1000 in payment from the business owner for allegedly contravening Health and Safety regulations. In the cases reported so far, a bogus penalty notice and inspection report was attached to the letter.

Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: “Anyone who receives one of these fraudulent letters should contact the police immediately. Do not make a payment to them. It’s important that these con artists are caught before they succeed in taking money from anyone. Our Environmental Health and Trading Standards teams are working closely with the Police on this matter.”

Hackney Council does not have a Department of Public Affairs. Environmental Health officers carry out food hygiene and safety inspections on commercial premises but they do not send out notices or inspection reports demanding financial payments from businesses, which are found to be in breach of Health and Safety or Food Hygiene legislation. Only the courts would decide if a fine was appropriate, if a violation of legislation resulted in legal action.

If you have any information about this scam call the Police on 0300 1231212 or Environmental Health on 020 8356 4911.