Restaurant owner fined for polluting nearby ditch

A CHINESE restaurateur ignored repeated warnings to stop polluting a ditch near his establishment at Caxton Gibbet, a court heard. His guilty pleas to six charges of discharging trade effluent from his Yim Wah House restaurant into controlled waters, a tr

A CHINESE restaurateur ignored repeated warnings to stop polluting a ditch near his establishment at Caxton Gibbet, a court heard.

His guilty pleas to six charges of discharging trade effluent from his Yim Wah House restaurant into controlled waters, a tributary of West Brook, over a period of a year attracted ever-higher fines imposed by Ely Magistrates' Court yesterday (Tuesday).

Fook Yu Yeung was fined a total of £13,500 - ranging from £1,000 for the first offence in December 2004 to £3,500 for the sixth a year later - and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,226.

The Environment Agency said Yeung, who had received a final caution in 2004, had known his sewage treatment plant had not been working effectively and had done nothing about advice from his suppliers that a different treatment plant was needed.


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The court heard an EA officer visiting the restaurant had on each of the six occasions found a grey, smelly liquid in the ditch into which waste could lawfully be discharged after treatment. Levels of ammonia, suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand were up to 20 times permitted levels.

Yeung's solicitor, Brendan Davis, said his client had spent over £100,000 on a new advanced sewage treatment plant but blamed contractors for letting him down. He said there had been various problems with how the plant worked.

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Mr Davis added: "This is a smart restaurant and can cater for 200 people. It is not some kind of cowboy outfit. He is aggrieved that various contractors have let him down.

"He arrived from Hong Kong in 1983 and has been a British citizen since 1990. He is a thoroughly pleasant man and employs 25 people at his successful restaurant.

"Since this incident the defendant has done everything in his power to rectify the problem and is now transporting waste away from his restaurant on a daily basis."

The magistrates told Yeung: "The levels of contamination were dangerously above the consent limit and even above the typical levels of untreated sewage."

After the hearing EA officer Claire Magee said: "The discharge from Yim Wah House over the past years has been more like raw sewage than properly treated waste water. As a result, the ditch has become grossly polluted and extremely smelly.

"I hope today's result makes businesses aware that causing pollution in any watercourse, including drainage ditches, is unacceptable.

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