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Norwich pub landlord kept dirty kitchens that posed "health risk" to public

Maid Marian pub, Ipswich Road, Norwich; Andy and Lynne Southworth; picture by Adrian Judd

Maid Marian pub, Ipswich Road, Norwich; Andy and Lynne Southworth; picture by Adrian Judd

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A Norwich pub landlord allowed his kitchens to become so dirty that they posed a "health risk" to the public, a court heard.

During his time as landlord of the Maid Marian pub, in Tuckswood, Andrew Southworth, pictured, failed to keep the fridges, wash basin taps, sink units and the walls and floor clean.

Bags containing fresh fish were placed within a pool of foul smelling liquid at the bottom of the fridge in the kitchen and food waste was not removed quickly enough from rooms where food was present.

Southworth also failed to maintain a written foods safety management system relating to cleaning, and there was insufficient lighting in the kitchen.

He also kept a tub of coronation chicken in the kitchen several days past its use-by date, Norwich Magistrates’ Court was told yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to five charges of contravening food hygiene regulations and one of selling food past its use-by date, although it was conceded he did not try to sell it.

The court heard that Southworth, 35, who now lives in Cherry Close, off Hall Road, Norwich, had taken over as landlord after his father had bought the tenancy when the previous tenant left.

He ran the pub with his wife Lynne Southworth and while he was mainly responsible for the kitchen area, she was based front of house.

David Lowens, prosecuting for Norwich City Council, said Southworth had twice been warned about hygiene conditions after inspections in October 2009 and last April.

Mr Lowens said the kitchen was so unclean that items were left “thick with old grease”.

Chairman of the bench Julian Mobbs told Southworth: “This was a health risk to the public.”

Alistair Taunton, for Southworth, said it had been a nightmare 18 months for his client, who had moved to the Ipswich Road pub in September 2009 to be manager for the previous tenant, before becoming landlord.

Mr Taunton said: “After he became landlord, things were going well for about a month, but in May last year Mrs Southworth was taken to hospital so she was not able to work in the pub.

“Mr Southworth, who had been based in the kitchen, had to move to the bar leaving the chef to run the kitchen.

“He [Southworth] accepts full responsibility, but with everything else going on, he left it to others and turned a blind eye to how bad the kitchen was getting.

“The restaurant was shut and then the pub, but as the accommodation was tied in with it, they had to squat in the pub. The council has now rehoused the couple and their two children in a council flat. At the moment Mr Southworth is unemployed.”

Southworth was handed a conditional discharge for two years, but no order for costs was made because of his financial position.

Afterwards, Norwich City Council food safety officer Sue Gowman said: “He [Southworth] turned a blind eye to the conditions...and put the public at risk.”

As revealed in the Evening News, after the pub closed the couple had locked themselves inside and put up squatting notices.

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