Conditions in the kitchen at the Red Lion, in Chelmsford, were described by one inspector as “one of the worst that I have seen in my 30-year career”.
Food hygiene inspectors visited the pub in October 2016 when the serious food hygiene and safety contraventions were spotted.
Officers found accumulated dirt on the floor, walls, chopping boards, pipework and around the wash basin where no soap was available.
Rats were found nesting under the fridge/freezer, holes had been gnawed under the kitchen doors and fresh rodent droppings were seen on the premises.
The Chelmsford pub’s kitchen had remained closed voluntarily until the case was brought to Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday (20 July).
Magistrates heard that attempts had been made to clean the kitchen and remove pests but due to holes in the walls and doors, it was still highly accessible to rodents and, therefore, not fit to reopen.
The court agreed and extended the closure by the issue of a prohibition order, preventing the Red Lion from being used as a food business with immediate effect.
The Red Lion (Chelmsford) company was issued with a £32,000 fine, victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £509.
One of its directors, Ian Collins was personally fined an additional £10,000, had to pay a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £509.
Seriously endanger customers
He was also issued with a hygiene prohibition order, preventing him from participating in the management of the Red Lion pub or any other food business indefinitely.
Chelmsford City Council safer communities cabinet member Susan Sullivan lauded the outcome of the case and highlighted how the high fine represented the seriousness of the incident.
She said: “The unusually high fine and prohibitions placed upon the defendant represent the severity of the appalling conditions found at these premises, which could seriously endanger the health of customers.”
The Morning Advertiser tried to get in touch with The Red Lion (Chelmsford) company and pub but was unable to find anyone able to comment.