AN Indian restaurant owner will go before a judge for sentencing after he admitted eight breaches of hygiene at his restaurant and take-away kitchen – ten years after he was prosecuted for similar offences.

Malik Bukhsh, of Beatrice Street, came before magistrates sitting in Swindon on Monday afternoon charged with eight contraventions of food safety and hygiene at the New Swindon Balti in Cricklade Road, Gorse Hill.

The court heard the council had carried out a routine inspection in February of last year and given him a list of things to improve before they returned again in April.

When these improvements were not made they invited him to attend an interview under caution, which kept being delayed.

But his defence, Richard Williams, stressed that the breaches had only arisen as a result of a routine council inspection, and not from customer complaints – and even presented the magistrates with a number of online reviews of the business singing Bukhsh’s praises.

Rosemary Heath, prosecuting on behalf of Swindon Borough Council, outlined the eight charges against the 63-year-old.

These included a cooked rice container that was cracked and held together with string, a large box lined with newspaper containing cooked onion bhajis that had been left out overnight, a lack of formal cleaning procedures in place and storing raw and ready to eat foods in the same containers without disinfecting them in between uses.

He was further charged with areas of the kitchen being found in a poor state of repair, not completing the required paperwork to accompany the food and failing to comply with a hygiene improvement notice.

She said: “This is Mr Bukhsh’s second offence and he has demonstrated throughout a disregard for what is required and has shown little commitment to try and resolve the issues.

"He has attended a food hygiene course and has been working in the food business for over 40 years.”

The court heard that he received around 160 orders through the online takeaway website Just Eat every month, but for the year ending 2015 he only made a profit of a little over £4,000.

Mr Williams pointed out that the previous conviction in 2006 had arisen after Bukhsh had taken a rare holiday and left the business in a family member’s hands, and since then he had rarely taken holiday.

He added: “You may appreciate that food hygiene is a very expansive and complicated area and in essence whilst the defendant has done his utmost to ensure compliance he has not kept up with developments and has omitted to ensure best practice.”

The magistrates retired to consider their sentence, returning 40 minutes later.

Chairman of the bench Lady Anna Pitt told him: “You will understand that the long-term effects of food poisoning is incalculable. These offences are made worse because this is your second offence.

"You have been given time to put things right and you have taken little notice. You have been given clear instructions and the dangers clearly spelled out.

“We feel that our powers are not sufficient and we are going to send this to the crown court for sentencing where all options will be considered.

“We have looked long and hard at this, and the serious nature of what we are looking at determined that we need to send this up to the crown court.”