Kinver public house prosecuted after health and safety offences and food safety breaches
Released on 5 July 2019
The food business operator of a public house located on the outskirts of Kinver in South Staffordshire has been given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to repeated breaches of food hygiene and health and safety regulations.
Barry Aust (66) from Broadwas, Worcester, was sentenced to 24 weeks for health and safety offences and 24 weeks for food hygiene offences at The Vine Inn, to run concurrently, reduced to 16 weeks to take into account his early guilty plea. Due to his age and health issues, this was suspended for 12 months. Mr Aust was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 and South Staffordshire Council's prosecution costs of £8,513.59.
The Vine Inn, a public house offering pub food and carveries had scored a food hygiene rating of 1 in 2016, 2017 and 2018, indicating that major improvements were necessary. When Food Safety Officers from South Staffordshire Council visited the premises on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May 2018 to carry out a routine food inspection, they found numerous failings and unacceptable conditions, which resulted in the Council's decision to prosecute.
The standard of cleanliness throughout the kitchen, bar, cellar, carvery and outside areas was found to be well below acceptable standards and there was no food safety management system. Staff were young or inexperienced with little or no training and stock control and allergen management systems were failing.
Overall, several health and safety issues were identified for both staff and people visiting the premises - this included dangerous electrical equipment and electrical sockets, badly damaged drainage grills in the cellar and yard, and a rotten and damaged decking area in the beer garden. A children's play area was also found to be dangerous with screws and nails sticking out from the structure, splintered and damaged wood, and missing steps and restraining boards to the play equipment.
Mr Aust was issued with a health and safety prohibition notice for the play equipment and three further health and safety improvement notices were served for the damaged drainage grills, electrical items and a hot pass. Further to these, a food hygiene improvement notice was also served on Mr Aust.
Council Officers made numerous visits to the premises to check compliance and ensure improvements were made and each time more issues were identified. Considerable advice and guidance was given to the business over the years and in 2018 to help it improve but a visit on Wednesday 16 January 2019 again highlighted outstanding food hygiene and health and safety issues.
Councillor Roger Lees, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services at South Staffordshire Council, said, “A prison sentence is extremely rare for these sort of prosecutions and although it was suspended due to the offender's health, these were serious matters for the Magistrates to consider. The sentence also reflected that Mr Aust had been given extensive advice and many warnings over the years from our officers and failed to comply.
“We will continue to be vigilant on behalf of our residents who trust these establishments to provide food that is prepared in a safe and hygienic way and to protect the safety of both staff and customers. The Council's environmental health team is authorised to take action where it finds non-compliance and especially repeated failures."
Food hygiene ratings can be viewed at http://ratings.food.gov.uk/
For further details contact
South Staffordshire District Council
Tel: 01902 696000