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December 2, 2008

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Pub landlord fined GBP 32K over filthy and unsafe kitchen

An unsafe gas cooker deeply encrusted with burnt food and fat, as well as a string of food hygiene offences, led to the appearance of a Derbyshire pub landlord in court.

Kevin Johnson, landlord of the Shakespeare Inn in Shardlow, pleaded guilty to 21 food hygiene offences and one safety charge at Derby Magistrates’ Court on 20 November. The offences included a breach of reg.35(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 by failing to ensure a gas supply is checked at least once every 12 months, and records kept.

Johnson was fined a total of £32,000 and ordered to pay £1729, the full costs of South Derbyshire District Council, which brought the prosecution. “This was a massive fine for a sole trader,” the Council’s principal environmental health officer, Ian Moore, told SHP.

The court heard that a visit to the pub by Moore on 30 October 2007 revealed that the gas cooking range was unsafe because a control panel had been removed and food waste had built up on the gas controls. The cooker was in an “appalling” condition, Moore elaborated. “Although the landlord had had the boiler serviced a short time before, the cooking range had been isolated during the service and reconnected afterwards,” he explained. “The contractor who serviced the boiler said he would have condemned the range if he had looked at it.”

In mitigation, Johnson said the chefs and other kitchen staff had not been doing their job properly. He said the kitchen had now been completely refitted.

Mr Moore commented: “Duty-holders should ensure that safety certification covers all gas-using devices in the kitchen, and that testing is regularly updated. This prosecution demonstrates that magistrates will not tolerate oversight as an excuse.”

The Shakespeare Inn features in the Good Beer Guide 2009.

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