Sea Palling bar had mouse droppings in the flour

A hygiene inspector found mouse droppings when they visited a bar close to a popular Norfolk beach, a court was told yesterday.

They were discovered in cupboards and among cutlery at Reefs Bar, in Beach Road, Sea Palling, when North Norfolk District Council inspector Tracey Wright went to the premises last December.

Droppings were found too on an apron in the kitchen, and mice appeared to have eaten flour from a bag in one of the cupboards, Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard.

The bar's owners, Giorgio Casciano, 36, and Peter Lamacraft, 54, pleaded guilty to two charges of contravening food regulations and one of not keeping food premises clean and in good repair.

The men were fined �500 each and told to pay �256.25 costs.

Cara Jordan, prosecuting, said that when Miss Wright made the routine inspection she found that the owners had met some of their legal require-ments under food hygiene law: however, in other areas standards were not as high. Safety records had not been completed correctly, including the list of safety checks conducted.

The doors in the kitchen had not been cleaned, a microwave oven was dirty and the floor was greasy.

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'Miss Wright went to look in the cupboard, and it was here that she found mouse droppings,' Ms Jordan added. 'She informed Mr Casciano of what she had found and went on to find mouse droppings in another cupboard and droppings in a bag of flour. The flour had droppings in the bottom and looked as though it had been nibbled.'

The bar was closed temporarily to be cleaned, and when Ms Wright returned later she found it to be in a satisfactory condition.

Ms Jordan said the premises had failed a previous inspection in 2009, although on that occasion the owners had been able to deal with the problems without closing down.

The defendants apologised for the offences and said food was hardly served during the winter, while staffing levels were lower as the restaurant was struggling in the difficult economic conditions.

Lamacraft said: 'The problems have now been resolved. We have indepen- dent pest control that comes round once a month. We have now got training in place for staff, and the safety book is filled in as it should be.'

dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk