The boss of a chip shop in South Tyneside has vowed there is no drug dealing taking place at his business after an employee was caught with cannabis during a police raid.
Sean Burnside, 29, a pizza chef at The Codfather, in Whiteleas Way, South Shields, had cannabis bush in a carrier bag when officers executed a search warrant at the premises on Saturday, July 13.
Burnside, of Rodin Avenue in South Shields, was fined £110 after pleading guilty to possessing the Class B drug at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Mark Laws, part owner of the business, says his employee has been disciplined for the offence and insists it is not part of a wider drug problem.
Mr Laws said: “We are a chip shop, nothing else. We have absolutely nothing to do with drug dealing. We are a family-run business and have been here for 10 years.
“We have a five star rating for food hygiene.
“This has damaged our reputation, which has always been very good and we want it to continue to be.
“There were about 20 police who turned up on the night, at the front and back of the premises.”
Just days after the raid, fellow owner Orhan Gomec told the Gazette of his shock at the police search.
He said: “When the police came in, I had no idea what was going on.”
Mr Laws says Burnside has been given a “stern warning” over his future conduct, but remains an employee. He is now keen to move on from the incident.
Mr Laws added: “We can’t carry out searches on all our employees. He has been disciplined.
“We have given him a stern warning and told him we can’t have issues like this in the future.”
In court, John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “Police executed a warrant at The Codfather at 7.40pm on Saturday, July 13.
“Bush cannabis was found in the blue carrier bag belonging to the defendant. He told officers ‘everything here is mine’.”
Police then carried out a search at Burnside’s home, finding two tins of cannabis.
Ian Haq, defending, said: “He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and made full admissions to the police. The cannabis was for his personal use only.”
Magistrates chairman Geoff Usher fined Burnside £110 for the offence.
He was also ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £20, making for a total court bill of £215.