Owners Of Mouse-Infested Pub Fined

The managers of a pub restaurant have been fined more than £4,000 each after mouse droppings were found in the food and a dead mouse was found on the premises, a local authority has said.

Dale Alan, 57, and Ian Young, 60, were prosecuted by Portsmouth City Council after its environmental health officers inspected the Dolphin pub in High Street, Old Portsmouth, Hampshire, following a tip-off.

A council spokesman said:

''In the kitchen, they found mouse droppings in food and equipment cupboards, under work benches and behind freezers.

''Droppings were also found under a coffee machine, on shelves for glasses in the bar, in the cellar and on the floor of the restaurant area. The kitchen, wash area, bar and cellar were dirty.

''Other failings included no soap or paper towels at the kitchen hand basin, and damaged areas of the floor which could not be properly cleaned. Food safety records had not been kept.''

The spokesman said the pub escaped being closed down by the council when Alan and Young offered to shut voluntarily while urgent action was taken to clean and pest-proof the premises.

But when it reopened, further inspections showed continuing problems.

The spokesman said:

''The council decided to prosecute because the men had failed to explain the poor standard of cleanliness and inadequate pest precautions, and had put the health of customers at risk - despite being aware of the mouse infestation before the council's visit.''

At Portsmouth Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, Young, of Kent Road, Southsea, and Alan, who gave his address as the Dolphin, each admitted seven offences under food hygiene regulations while directors of a food business.

Each was fined £3,500 and told to pay £890 in court costs.

Alan Cufley, head of service for environmental health at the council, said:

''We take cases like this very seriously. Public health was compromised at the Dolphin because of a clear disregard for food safety.

''Food hygiene is of prime importance and we cannot tolerate poor standards and behaviour that puts customers at risk.''