Pub owners have been ordered to pay almost £6,500 for breaching food and safety rules after rat droppings were found in the food storage areas and the kitchen was not adequately cleaned.

The council’s food safety team visited The Queens Head public house in The Street, Crowmarsh Gifford near Wallingford on October 1 2019, to carry out a routine inspection.

They found the kitchen dirty, with grease and food debris on the cooking range, grease encrusted on the fryers and rat droppings in the storage area and cellar.

Oxford Mail:

Hygiene inspectors reported poor standards of cleaning which could allow cross contamination of food and out of date food in the fridges.

The inspectors found food left out uncovered in food storage areas, which also had evidence of rats, with rat droppings and gnawed packages. There were also no procedures to prevent the pests getting in.

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On October 8 2019, the food safety team returned and again the following month on November 5 and found several of the same issues as with the previous visits even though the pub owners were given warnings that the safety concerns needed to be remedied immediately.

In a statement given at the court case the owners expressed remorse for finding themselves in this position.

They explained that at the time of the visits the pub was low on staff and found it difficult to run the business day-to-day and keep up with the schedule of works required following the inspections.

South Oxfordshire District Council environmental health team brought the case, which was heard at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on December 4.

The owner of the Crowmarsh Pub Company pleaded guilty to ten charges of breaching food safety hygiene regulations.

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Magistrates imposed a fine of £3,300. They awarded costs of £3,000 and imposed a victim surcharge of £190.

Since November 2019, the owners have made virtually all the changes needed and had received a recent inspection which confirmed this.

Councillor David Rouane, cabinet member for housing and the environment, said: “It is the council’s duty to the public to help ensure hygiene standards are maintained by all food outlets, whether they are large companies, small online businesses or village pubs.

“The council will take action where necessary to protect people’s health when companies fail to keep to the food safety rules.”

Every Tuesday, Oxford Mail reports on the best and worst hygiene reports from scores on the doors.