St Albans pub fined for food hygine breaches

A GASTRO pub in St Albans has been fined for breaching food hygiene and health and safety regulations.

The Cock in St Peter’s Street admitted the offences in court after they failed to comply with improvement notices and recommendations served by district council Environmental Health officers during routine visits.

Proceedings were brought against the company running the pub – London and Shires Bars and Restaurants Ltd – by the council for a total of six offences which occurred between February and April this year and the case went before Watford Magistrates’ Court last week (Dec 20).

Fines totalling �10,000 were imposed – �1,250 for each of the four food hygiene offences and �2,500 for each of the two health and safety offences. In addition costs of �1,792 were awarded to the council along with a victim surcharge.

The chair of the magistrates said when sentencing that the fines had been reduced by a third as the company pleaded guilty and there were no previous convictions. The business has also engaged the services of food hygiene consultants.

Aggravating factors to offences were that they were motivated by financial gain, that instructions from the council had not been complied with in a timely manner and that the public had been put at risk from the dangers of cross contamination.

Councillor Chris Oxley, portfolio holder for community engagement and support, said: “St Albans is proud of the fact that for centuries we have been a ‘destination’ centre for visitors from all over the world. We pride ourselves in having some wonderful eating establishments.

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“Under no circumstances will we allow our top class reputation to be tarnished by establishments that abuse food hygiene and associated legislation. We have a highly competent enforcement team and will use every weapon in our armoury to defend the health and safety of all who live, work or visit our city and district.”

Andrew Robertson, the council’s head of environment and regulatory services, said: “We inspect a significant number of food businesses every year and when issues are picked up, owners almost always follow our advice and quickly make the changes which are needed to keep people safe when they eat out.

“However, when people refuse to listen and do not operate their kitchens or restaurants in a safe and hygienic way, we will prosecute them. We want businesses of all kinds to survive during the recession, but we’re very aware that public health and food hygiene cannot be ignored.”