Rotting fish left in burned out factory for two months causes stink in Rainham

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 September 2015

Angry residents outside the fire damaged plant

Angry residents outside the fire damaged plant


“£1million worth” of rotting fish has been left in a burned-out factory for two months – inflicting an “absolutely putrid” smell on nearby residents.

Fire damage at the factoryFire damage at the factory

A huge pallet yard fire forced Shapla Frozen Foods Ltd to vacate its business unit in East Hall Lane, Rainham, in July.

Electrics for the whole site were disconnected but the fish, crustaceans and molluscs it sold weren’t cleared out and a foul smell has covered the area – along with swarms of flies.

“It is unbearable, depending on which way the wind is blowing,” said Anita Holtom, 66, who has lived on the adjacent Wennington Road for 26 years. “It’s even worse in the flats near the factory.

“I’ve got netting up on my door so we can open it but we can’t have the window open because the flies get in,” she said. “It’s absolutely disgusting.”

Leszek Rytych with his fly trapsLeszek Rytych with his fly traps

Environmental health officers from Havering Council visited the area last week and asked Anita to photograph the flies.

Within an hour of them leaving she had “30 or 40” dead on her window sill.

Kay and Ken Knight, who live even closer to the site in Wennington Road, say the business owners told them they had “£1million worth of frozen fish” in the factory.

“Two weeks after the fire we started to get the smell,” said Kay. “But no attempt was made to clear the site.”

The council says it cannot do anything about the decomposing food inside the factory.

It has given the land owners an abatement notice for statutory nuisance which expires on Wednesday.

Cllr Osman Dervish, cabinet member for regulatory services, said: “We are aware of a smell issue following a fire and have served a notice on the owner of the land where the smell is coming from.

“We expect the matter to be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

The blaze, which came two days after a man in his 30s died at the site, damaged workshops, two cottages and an annexe flat. It took more than 80 firefighters to extinguish it.

The Recorder has not been able to contact Shapla Frozen Foods company director Rachid Salim. Architects Ltd, agents for the landowners, were contacted but have not commented.

Shapla changed its registered address a week after the fire to Green Street in Forest Gate.

When a reporter called the business operating at that address, Green Street Meat Bazar, a member of staff said he had never heard of Shapla Frozen Foods.

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