THE former owners of one of Portsmouth’s oldest pubs have been fined thousands of pounds after it became infested with mice.
During an inspection of The Dolphin, in High Street, Old Portsmouth, council inspectors found mouse droppings on floors, beer mats, shelves, in cooking equipment and coffee and sugar stored in cupboards.
And a dead mouse was discovered in a store cupboard.
Dale Alan, 57, and Ian Young, 60, each pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court to seven charges relating to breaches of food hygiene regulations. They were each fined £4,390.
The city council sent in inspectors after a customer complained of spotting a mouse running around in the pub, which is more than 300 years old.
Victoria Putnam, prosecuting, said that as a result Alan decided to close the pub for three days while a pest control team helped clear things up.
Although inspectors still found droppings when they returned three days later, they allowed it to re-open on the grounds improvements had been made.
The council then gave the pub a zero out of five hygiene rating.
Henry Farley, defending, said: ‘Mr Alan and Mr Young have never sought to evade liability. I think it’s very apparent when we look at the evidence to bear in mind that the city council attended the premises on February 3 and Mr Alan agreed that day to a voluntary closing order.’
Mr Farley added: ‘It just takes a bit of cold weather to bring the mice in and it’s an old building. Old buildings are more likely to fall prey to these problems than newer ones.’
Alan and Young ran the pub under the company name The Dolphin (Old Portsmouth) Limited, which went bust in November last year.
They no longer own the pub and it is now run by Yakow Limited. Chairwoman of the bench Joanna Murphy told them: ‘This is a very serious breach of food hygiene.’