A CHINESE takeaway owner has been ordered to pay more than £7,000 after housing a worker in a pantry with prison-like bars over the windows.

Sinh Quang Tran, 66, of Ruby Chinese takeaway on Union Street Hereford, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an emergency prohibition order at Hereford Magistrates’ Court on March 5.

Herefordshire Council’s environmental health officers along with West Mercia Police, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and immigration officials undertook a multi-agency targeted enforcement operation on the property in April 2018.

An emergency prohibition order was served due to a lack of appropriate fire safety measures throughout the property and prison-like bars over the windows in the workers’ accommodation above the takeaway.

Had there been a fire, there would be no escape for the tenants.

When officers returned in June to check compliance with the order, they found a man sleeping in a small pantry with bars on the window that was totally unsuitable as bedroom accommodation.

The terms of the emergency prohibition order had therefore been breached as Mr Tran allowed a tenant to continue to live at the unsafe property.

Tran was ordered to pay a fine of £5000, costs of £2214.24 and a victim surcharge of £170.

His fines and costs were reduced from £9,884 due to his guilty plea.

Charles Yarnold, Environmental Health Service Manager for Herefordshire Council, said: “Herefordshire Council takes housing crime seriously. This result sends a clear message to other criminal housing landlords that we will continue to protect tenants’ safety – and the livelihood of our honest and decent housing landlords – by ensuring criminal landlords are brought to justice.”