Biker cafe with 'rat infestation' in Robertsbridge fined £6,000 after droppings found in kitchen

Credit: Rother District Council
Inspectors found rat droppings under kitchen workstations at the roadside cafe on the A21 in East Sussex. Credit: Rother District Council / Google Street View

An East Sussex biker cafe has been fined £6,000 after environmental health officers uncovered a ‘rat infestation’.

A team from Rother District Council visited the Route 1066 Café in August 2023 after a member of the public reported that they had seen rodents in the eatery.

The business is situated on the A21, between Battle and Robertsbridge, and has long been a gathering spot for motorcycle riders.

The cafe’s owner told ITV News the problems were dealt with straight away and they have had no issues since.

Photos taken by environment health officers during the inspection last August. Credit: Rother District Council

Council officers said they found fresh rat droppings under kitchen workstations and in the storerooms, rat paw prints in the dust behind a chest freezer, food packaging gnawed by rats and empty packets of rat poison which also had been gnawed by rats.

The business was open and trading at the time, with staff preparing food as the inspection took place.

A hole was also found in the storeroom, which acted as an entry point for the rats, and more rat droppings were found behind the building where rubbish was piled up.

Further investigations found that legal required food hygiene records were not up to date. The owner immediately and voluntarily, closed the business and began making the necessary improvements.

The cafe remained closed until the infestation was eliminated, a deep clean completed, the rat entrance holes blocked and the record keeping recommenced.

The cafe is located on the A21, near Robertsbridge, and has long been a popular meeting point for motorbike riders. Credit: Google Street View

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court on 25 April, Sandra Wells, 62, director of Route 1066 Café Limited, pleaded guilty to three offences under food hygiene legislation.

Route 1066 Café was fined a total of £6,000 for the three offences and ordered to pay a £2,400 surcharge and full costs to Rother District Council of £1,725.

Cllr Kathryn Field, Rother District Council’s lead for Environmental Health, said: “We are pleased that the court has recognised the diligent work of our Environmental Health team in protecting the public health of our residents and visitors. When we are alerted to unsafe conditions, we act to make conditions safe for everyone”.

Business owner Sandra Wells told ITV News Meridian: “As soon as any issues were highlighted we dealt with them straight away. We voluntarily closed for three days in August, we made sure everything was okay. It was dealt with a long time ago and we’ve had no issues since.”

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