A car wash boss “put lives at risk” by allowing staff to live at the business when it was unsafe, a court has heard.
Pit Stop car wash in Shipley was found by inspectors to have a “filthy” kitchen area and other poor facilities following a tip-off in July 2019.
Owner Ahmed Mahmoud Hussain admitted failing to comply with a housing prohibition order at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay a surcharge of £138 and costs of £473.
Hussain, of Wharncliffe Road, was handed an Emergency Prohibition Order in March 2015 preventing the building, on Valley Road, being used for habitation due to the risk of fire.
On 25 July 2019 housing officers at Bradford council, along with police, the fire service and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, inspected the premises and found beds in a first floor room.
There was also a “makeshift” rat trap, a strong odour of chemicals and poor ventilation. A hob and cooking utensils were inches from the gas canisters and smoke alarms had been dismantled.
A follow-up visit a month later found people living there, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Presiding judge Justice Paul Broomhead said: “The offences for which you appear before the court are extremely serious, as lives were put at risk.”
The court heard Hussain was initially found guilty in his absence during a previous hearing on 20 March and fined £5,380.
He did not appear in court at that time because he was self isolating and his lawyer was dealing with a family health issue.
Magistrates agreed to reopen the case after they heard there was a communication mix up resulting in the case going ahead in Hussain’s absence.
The court was told Hussain, who owned the business since 2009, “has limited English and hasn’t understood the severity of it.”
He sub-lets the car wash from another company and had asked them to improve the building.