Pub handed record fine after wedding party suffer food poisoning

A pub-owning couple have been handed a record fine after guests at a wedding - including the newlyweds - suffered food poisoning at a reception.

The guests - most of whom were serving police officers - fell ill after eating at the Globe Inn in Frogmore, South Hams in last year.

After receiving reports of an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea, inspectors visited the establishment in October and found unacceptable breaches of food hygiene laws.

John Horsley, 64, and his wife Lynda, 63, owners of the Globe Inn, admitted three counts of breaching food hygiene laws at a hearing in Torquay yesterday.

They were each fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,798 in costs bringing the total to just under £10,000 - the biggest food safety fine ever sanctioned by South Hams Council.

Dirt and food waste strewn under the floor of the pub's kitchen. Credit: South Hams Council

South Hams District Council’s environmental health department reported seeing dirty towels and cleaning sponges riddled with bacteria, and food that was "unfit for human consumption".

Health officials could not link the food poisoning directly to the bacteria found, but the couple were still judged to have breached hygiene regulations as the failures had the "potential to make people unwell".

Inspectors said the hygiene standards were unacceptable. Credit: South Hams Council
The couple said they were devastated by the failings. Credit: South Hams Council
Grease deposits and dirt are seen above a fryer. Credit: South Hams Council

The Horsleys, described as "upstanding members of the community’", said they were "absolutely devastated" and had been "deeply affected" by the events.

Ashleigh Harold, for the defence, said the couple had alerted authorities the next available day about complaints they received of illness.

They pleaded guilty to failing to keep the premises clean, placing unsafe food onto the market and failing to have a food safety management system in place?

Mr Horsely told ITV News West Country his pub has now enforced the department's recommendations and received a good report from inspectors in a follow-up inspection in December.

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