Mouse infestation costs Weybridge pub £13,000

Gastro UK Ltd, the company operating The Alexander pub, pleaded guilty to eight food hygiene offences at Redhill Magistrates’ Court

A mouse infestation at a Weybridge pub led to multiple food hygiene offences, resulting in costs totalling more than £13,000.

Gastro UK Ltd, the company operating The Alexander pub, in Oatlands Drive, pleaded guilty to eight food hygiene offences at Redhill Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, May 19.

The charges relate to a routine inspection by a food team from Elmbridge Borough Council on August 15 last year.

Officers found evidence of a mouse infestation in ‘several areas of the business’, according to a statement released by the council, alongside poor structure and cleaning of the premises and a failure to implement a ‘suitable food safety management system’.

When officers returned on September 25 to undertake checks on compliance, the statement added, all the issues had not been resolved.

As a result, the court fined Gastro UK Ltd £1,400 per offence, amounting to £11,200, and ordered the company to pay £2,596 to the council for costs.

The borough council has since noted that the business ‘worked hard’ to improve its standards, earning a five-star food hygiene rating at its last inspection on March 6.

Alex Jackson, director at Gastro UK, assured customers that it will ‘never happen again’.

He said: “The council identified an infestation and we were notified, so we closed the pub, deep cleaned, pest-proofed, and were then approved by the food team. We’ve worked hard on the food management process.”

Mr Jackson explained that the infestation was in the storage section of the cellar, and that the pub’s age had contributed to the mouse problem.

“It’s a very old building with a large cellar space – there were many gaps,” he said. “But there were never any mice in the kitchen and we never served any contaminated food.”

Since the infestation there has been a reshuffle in the kitchen, with the head chef leaving and the former sous chef assuming his role.

“I also work in the kitchen to oversee things,” Mr Jackson said. “It’s business as usual with everything run as it should be. The pub has an excellent reputation and we hope this doesn’t adversely affect us.”

Councillor Glenn Dearlove, portfolio holder for environment in the Elmbridge cabinet, said: “It is right that the management of The Alexander has been held accountable for their failure to comply with important food hygiene legislation.

“However, the subsequent improvement to a food hygiene rating of five demonstrates not only how hard they have worked, but also the improvement our food and safety officers can bring about when businesses work with us.”

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