Ex-licensee hit with bill for almost £3,700 over pub “ingrained with dirt and grease”

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Greasy: Philip Elton pleaded guilty to five food safety violations
Greasy: Philip Elton pleaded guilty to five food safety violations

Related tags Food hygiene Food standards agency

A former licensee was slapped with a £1,600 fine and ordered to pay more than £2,000 in costs after environmental health officers discovered dozens of food hygiene violations at his pub. 

Officers visited the Northgate, Oldham, Greater Manchester, in November 2015 and were shocked to discover grease-coated equipment, cigarette butts discarded in a bowl in the kitchen, spillages that had not been cleaned up and old equipment left in stagnant water.

Fridge and freezer seals were “ingrained with dirt”, shelving was stained and greasy, and no provisions had been made for the storage or disposal of food waste.

Dirty: officers discovered a slew of food safety violations

Philip Elton, who ran the pub at the time but has since left the business, pleaded guilty to five breaches of food hygiene laws at Tameside Magistrates' Court on Wednesday (1 February).


He was fined a total of £1,600 and ordered to pay costs of £2,050 with a £32 victim surcharge.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and co-operatives, said: “Oldham Council takes matters like this very seriously and we are committed to ensuring there are no serious lapses in food hygiene in premises across the borough."

Health risk: equipment was greasy and stained

She added: “We will not hesitate to take action in cases like these to protect the health and safety of our residents. Business owners who run establishments that serve food must comply with the law or be prepared to face prosecution.”

The pub has since been revisited by environmental health officers and been given a rating of three stars, meaning its food hygiene standards are “generally satisfactory”. 

Scores on the doors

The Local Government Association has previously called for legislation that would force English food businesses to clearly display their food hygiene ratings​ for all customers. Such legislation is already in place in Wales and Northern Ireland, where failure to do so is punishable with fines and prosecution.

The Food Standards Agency has openly supported the move, claiming the legislation would make eating out safer for customers and would encourage businesses with lower scores to work harder to achieve better.

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