A POPULAR city centre pub and eatery has been hit with more than £53,000 in fines and court costs for failing to keep a clean kitchen and failing to keep pests under control.
Stonegate Pub Company, owners of Yates on Queens Square, Liverpool, admitted two food hygiene offences before Liverpool Magistrates this week.
The court heard that the prosecution arose from an inspection of the pub by officers with Liverpool City Council’s Environmental Health team in September 2017.
Officers found food waste and grease on the equipment and floors of the kitchen, with the surfaces around the cooking area in an unclean condition.
The team also found evidence of mice in the premises, with droppings being found amongst the food debris on the floor and on equipment surfaces.
Officers found a toilet brush being stored in the kitchen and more evidence of mice when they investigated other areas of the premises, such as the cleaner’s storeroom and customer seating areas. Mice are known to carry contagious diseases such as salmonella and listeria.
The team presented its findings to the management and determined that the conditions posed an imminent risk to public health.
The court heard that a lack of routine cleaning was an ongoing issue at the pub.
Yates’ was given a food hygiene rating of zero and Stonegate agreed to close the pub until improvements were made.
At the hearing, District Judge Andrew Shaw said the staff were blind to the problems in front of them. Whilst representatives from Stonegate said the company was ‘extremely embarrassed and disappointed’ with what had happened.
Stonegate was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £3,743 in costs.
The court heard that a subsequent inspection of the venue had found many improvements. The premises were no longer deemed a risk to health and were allowed to re-open. Yates has since been awarded a five-star food hygiene rating by the city council.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Environmental Health, Cllr James Noakes said: “The appalling state of these premises were clearly unfit to be serving food to the public. It is clear the actions of the environmental health team have undoubtedly prevented someone from becoming seriously ill as a result of eating there. Whilst it is reassuring that the company has since cleaned up its act at Yates, it is inexcusable that standards were allowed to slip so far in the first place.
“The severity of the fine involved sends a clear message that unclean conditions that pose a risk to public safety will simply not be tolerated.”