Bradford Council received a tip off last summer that people were living at the premises.
The owner of a car wash in Shipley has been ordered to pay almost £6,000 after being found guilty of allowing people to live in filthy and dangerous conditions within the car wash building.
Housing officers at Bradford Council had received a tip off last summer that a number of people were living at the Pit Stop Car Wash, on Valley Road Shipley.
Business owner Ahmed Mahmoud Hussain had originally been handed an Emergency Prohibition Order in March 2015, preventing the 159 Valley Road car wash building to be used for habitation due to the risk of fire.
Soon afterwards the then occupants vacated the property.
But the public tip off last July claimed people were once again living at the property, leading to the Council’s housing standards team getting involved.
They joined HMRC, Police, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and Fire Service in a multi-agency operation to inspect the business.
When they visited the building, on the main route between Shipley and Bradford, on July 25 2019 they found a “filthy” kitchen area and other facilities that were in a poor state of repair.
There was a “makeshift” rat trap – consisting of a plank of wood leading up to a bucket of water, a strong odour of chemicals and poor ventilation.
A hob and cooking utensils were located just inches from gas canisters and there were no smoke alarms.
Officers saw evidence people were living there, including piles of clothes, which also smelt of chemicals, kitchen utensils and food.
They carried out a return inspection on August 14, when they found three young men set around a table.
There were beds in the building, near which officers found food, medication and shaving equipment – signs the business was still being lived in.
Hussain, of Wharncliffe Road, Shipley, was charged with failing to comply with a housing prohibition order, and was due to appear at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court this afternoon.
He failed to appear and the case was heard in his absence.
Magistrates said he showed a “complete disregard” for the order and found him guilty.
He was fined £5,380, ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £181 and council costs of £373.
After the sentencing Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We welcome the court’s ruling on this prosecution.
“It’s disgraceful to house people in such dangerous and unhygienic conditions.
“We will take every action available to us against rogue business operators and landlords who flout environmental and planning laws.”