Out-of-date pub food sparks fine for boss

The Fairhaven Hotel, in Fairhaven, run by Christopher Erskine.
The Fairhaven Hotel, in Fairhaven, run by Christopher Erskine.

The boss of a well-known Fylde coast pub has been fined by a court over food hygiene offences.

Food due to be served to customers at the Fairhaven Hotel, in Fairhaven near St Annes, was out of date and there was no record of when a bag of mussels had been defrosted, magistrates were told.

Christopher Erskine, 33, who lives at and runs the premises in Marine Drive, admitted nine offences when he appeared before Blackpool magistrates.

The court heard from Claire Holmes, prosecuting for Fylde Council, that council officers had visited the pub.

She said: “The defendant was not at the premises at the time and the council officers were shown round the premises by the head chef.

“They went to a walk-in fridge where food labels showed that items were out of date.”

These included peas cooked in stock, home-made coleslaw and lamb broth.

Potatoes dauphinoise were seven days out of date as was pork belly, soured cream and soft cheese.

The prosecutor said staff had no idea when the mussels had been defrosted.

She said the food was removed from sale and told magistrates that Erskine had received a previous official caution from the council for poor food hygiene, stock control and having mouldy food at the pub.

She said that the premises had been the subject of a more recent inspection and matters had improved.

Paul Humphrey, defending, said: “This business venture has been little short of a disaster for Mr Erskine.

“He accepts the prosecution evidence. There clearly was an internal system in operation when it came to food but it was not operated properly.

“The member of staff who should have been responsible has been sacked.”

He said that Mr Erkine had gone to the Fairhaven as a partner in a franchise operation, adding that he and another man were to put in £30,000 each.

But the other man was slow to put in his share and then disappeared “ leaving Mr Erskine to find another £30,000.”

He added: “Since the council made this inspection staff have been retrained – Mr Erskine does not want this to happen again.”

Magistrates were told the pub overlooking picture postcard Granny’s Bay made a loss of £36,000 in its first year of trading under Erskine.

That had been reduced to an £11,300 loss and was now projected to break even.

His client employed seven full time and eight part time staff, said the defence.

Erskine was fined £500 and ordered to pay £450 costs and a £50 victims’ surcharge.

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