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Cross Keys pub in Wymondham banned from serving food from its kitchen after health officers find mouldy baked beans and sandwich filler three months out of date

PUBLISHED: 16:23 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 25 May 2017

Inside a fridge in the kitchen of Wymondham's Cross Keys pub on May 18. It shows what an environmental health officer said “looked like it may have been baked beans at some point in its life.” Picture: Courtesy South Norfolk Council

Inside a fridge in the kitchen of Wymondham's Cross Keys pub on May 18. It shows what an environmental health officer said "looked like it may have been baked beans at some point in its life." Picture: Courtesy South Norfolk Council

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A town pub's kitchen can no longer be used to serve food to the public after a court heard of mould and filthy conditions there.

The Cross Keys pub in Wymondham. Picture: Sonya BrownThe Cross Keys pub in Wymondham. Picture: Sonya Brown

Norwich Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, May 23) upheld an emergency food prohibition notice issued to Wymondham’s Cross Keys pub by South Norfolk Council environmental health officer Grizelle Britton on May 18.

Mrs Britton told the court that when she visited the pub, its kitchen had a “very strong and unpleasant odour” with dirty and greasy surfaces and equipment.

She said there was mould which “looked like it may have been baked beans” growing in a counter fridge, and it held chicken bacon sandwich filler with a use-by date of February 12, and there was more filling in another fridge with a May 5 use-by date.

Mrs Britton said: “I was concerned because there I felt there was an immediate risk to human health from anything that came out of this kitchen.

Inside a fridge in the kitchen of Wymondham's Cross Keys pub on May 18. It shows what an environmental health officer said “looked like it may have been baked beans at some point in its life. Picture: Courtesy South Norfolk CouncilInside a fridge in the kitchen of Wymondham's Cross Keys pub on May 18. It shows what an environmental health officer said “looked like it may have been baked beans at some point in its life. Picture: Courtesy South Norfolk Council

“The conditions found on the day were extremely unacceptable and we wouldn’t expect any food business to have such conditions in the kitchen or anywhere else on the premises.”

Sharon Barker, who is in charge of the pub, did not dispute Ms Britton’s findings.

Ms Barker said she had run the Cross Keys on a year-to-year basis since 2015 in an agreement with Criterion Asset Management. Criterion manages the pub’s lease on behalf of leaseholder, The Wellington Pub Company.

But Ms Barker said she had been living away from the area until May 13, and she discovered two days later the pub’s day-to-day managers, Gary Smith and Brian Leadbetter, had “done a moonlight flip” and disappeared.

An image showing the filthy conditions in the kitchen of Wymondham's Cross Keys pub on May 18. Picture: Courtesy South Norfolk CouncilAn image showing the filthy conditions in the kitchen of Wymondham's Cross Keys pub on May 18. Picture: Courtesy South Norfolk Council

Ms Barker said the place was “a wreck” when she visited on May 15, and did not serve food from the kitchen in the following days, while she was getting new managers in place.

Ms Barker said she had made further efforts to clean up the kitchen since the notice was issued, but she no longer wished to use it to serve food at the pub.

The court heard an environmental health officer had also visited the pub on December 12 last year and had spoken to Mr Smith and Mr Leadbetter about the conditions in the kitchen.

But Ms Barker said she had not been told about this visit. The court issued an emergency food prohibition order, forbidding the kitchen from being used for the business.

Apology and thanks

After the hearing, Ms Barker said she was sorry for what had happened to the pub, and was hopeful the venue would have a brighter future.

She said: “I apologise to the customers of the Cross Keys, Gary and Brian were amazing when they first landed but I put my trust in them to manage the pub on my behalf and to look after the customers.

“As I’m sure you are all now aware we have new managers in place and will endeavour never to let this happen again to your pub.

“Although the Cross Keys has not been trading food the commercial kitchen was for their personal use as there are no facilities in the accommodation.

“Thank you to all the support from my amazing customers over the last week.

“I hope you all give Sharon and Shaun (the pub’s new day-to-day managers) the warm welcome they deserve.”

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