Company fined for mouse problem at Walthamstow pub

The company behind a popular pub was fined more than £50,000 after a food hygiene inspector found mouse droppings on plates used for food.

Waltham Forest Council inspected The Goose pub in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, on September 4, 2018 after a member of the public complained they had seen five mice in one hour inside the pub.

Stonegate Pub Company Ltd pleaded guilty to breaking EU hygiene regulations on December 12 last year, but insisted the problem was caused by the pub’s on-site managers not following company policy.

Nevertheless, District Judge Branston handed the company a £53,333 fine and ordered it to pay costs of £4,024.16 and a surcharge of £170 at Thames Magistrates’ Court today, Friday February 7.

In his closing statement, he said: “It would appear there were issues at this particular location for up to two months.

“Difficulties with mice had been observed by outside pest control company Ecolab during July and particularly during August.

“These concerns were not dealt with adequately by personnel in place at this location and there was a potential risk to the public over a period of several weeks.”

Mice droppings were seen inside the customer side of the pub, on plates and other crockery being used for service and on packets of food.

Stonegate Pub Company Ltd agreed to close the venue while the problems were dealt with. It was reinspected and allowed to reopen on September 12.

The company’s lawyer insisted the company “took this extremely seriously” and that the issue arose because the pub’s general manager and kitchen manager failed to report the concerns raised by Ecolab.

He said: “There are excellent systems in place which were unfortunately not followed by the general manager or the kitchen manager.

“This pub unfortunately went downhill very quickly. The company acted entirely responsibly once they had been told what was going on.

“New management has been put in place and there have been no issues at this premises or any other Stonegate premises since.”

The Goose Pub had been given the highest possible food hygiene rating of five in an inspection on June 6 of that year, just a few months earlier.

Stonegate Pub Company Ltd, which owns more than 690 bars and pubs nationwide and has been trading for more than 20 years, only has one other similar conviction regarding the Yates Liverpool in Queen Square.

District Judge Branston admitted he was “suitably impressed” with the company’s response to the issue, although added this was “what one would expect” from a company of its size.

The pub’s most recent food hygiene inspection, carried out on January 8 last year, earned it a four out of five.

The company has 30 days to pay the fine to Waltham Forest Council and declined to comment when approached.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter