Repeat food hygiene offender lands hefty fine

Thames Magistrates Court in Bow (Wed 23 June) has handed out a hefty fine to a dirty and unsanitary Hackney-based restaurant - the Obalende Suya Express, which was operating from 523, Kingsland Road.

Mr Tokunbo Odebunmi and Obalende Suya Express Limited were fined a total of £18,000 with costs of £3,980 awarded to the Council. The restaurant, inspected by Hackney Council’s Environmental Health Officers in February 2009, was found to have rodent droppings on the inside the cooker and in the area used for preparing food.

The restaurant also had no food safety management system and had not properly trained staff in food hygiene, so its customers were at risk of food poisoning and contamination from badly stored and, in some cases, rotting food.

In court, Mr Tokunbo Odebunmi pleaded guilty to three food hygiene offences and also pleaded guilty on behalf of Obalende Suya Express Limited to three offences. The court heard that Mr Tokunbo Odebunmi has a previous conviction for twelve food hygiene offences at the same address, dating back to 2000.

Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods said: “This large fine was earned by a repeat offender who carried on running a dirty and unsafe restaurant. The size of the fine is down to the sheer persistence of a business man, who showed no concern or respect for the health and safety of his customers.”

A new proprietor is now based at the address at 523 Kingsland Road. The new business is not related to the Obalende Suya Express.

Hackney Council publishes the details of food hygiene inspections as part of the Scores on the Doors campaign. Go to All inspections carried out since January 2005 are now online and all are given a simple star rating.