Pub dirty, court hears
A SUFFOLK pub landlord today told how he has put his pet dogs before his livelihood after being fined for having dirty kitchens. Safety inspectors were so appalled at what they found at the Shepherd and Dog in Hollesley they decided to prosecute the landlord Reginald Hawkins.
A SUFFOLK pub landlord today told how he has put his pet dogs before his livelihood after being fined for having dirty kitchens.
Safety inspectors were so appalled at what they found at the Shepherd and Dog in Hollesley they decided to prosecute the landlord Reginald Hawkins.
He was fined £750, with a further £750 costs, by South East Suffolk Magistrates, but today said he had stopped serving food at his premises following the safety inspectors' complaints that he was failing to carry out basic cleaning of his kitchens.
Mr Hawkins said: "I was told to either get rid of my dogs or stop doing food.
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"I am just running the pub without food, it is very quiet.
"In 25 years, I have never seen a health visitor getting on their hands and knees to find muck.
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"I have never had any problems. I have four pubs now and I explained that for the last year I had been looking for staff because I am doing the whole lot by myself and I get a bit behind.
"On the day she came in was the day before I was due to do the cleaning."
Suffolk Coastal council successfully brought the prosecution after Hawkins failed to comply with an improvement notice that was served on the pub in The Street in March last year following an initial visit in February.
The notice related to various cleaning and disinfection issues.
These included dog hairs stuck to work surfaces and the floor, food deposits on shelves and in the fridge, dirty equipment that included a deep fat fryer congealed in fat and carbonised food debris, dirty fridge door handles, and blood on the floor that had dripped from meat packets in the freezer.
A member of the council's food safety team also discovered several slices of bacon that were smelling off, and mould growing on peas.
Initially a letter was sent to Hawkins giving a tight timescale to carry out an agreed series of improvements, but a further visit by staff two weeks later showed nothing had been done.
Since then, despite the threat of legal action, there have been only a few improvements to the cleanliness of the kitchens but not enough to bring it up to scratch.
"This is another example of the excellent job our food safety team are doing to ensure that food premises across our district are meeting the legal hygiene standards," said councillor Patricia O'Brien, cabinet member for health and safety.
"I am pleased the magistrates accepted our case and found Mr Hawkins guilty. Court action is a last resort and something we only do on the most serious cases or where we are left with no choice.
"Our staff have been trying to get Mr Hawkins to improve the quality of cleanliness at the Shepherd and Dog for almost a year, but despite their best efforts he failed to comply to the fairly basic but necessary cleaning routines..
"In the last 12 months, our food safety team have carried out about 700 visits to premises across the district. I can assure residents that we will remain vigilant in our inspections to ensure that the best possible food safety standards are being maintained in Suffolk Coastal."