Mice infestation at Highgate pub where wedding guests food poisoned

Health inspectors uncovered a mouse infestation at a Highgate pub after a wedding party complained of food poisoning, a court heard.

Mouse droppings were found littered across the small kitchen of the Old Crown pub in Highgate Hill less than 10 days after it hosted a lunch and buffet for 58 wedding guests.

When council officials visited they found rotting pub grub and mouse faeces in food, in a sink, and on work surfaces, Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Corner heard on Tuesday (January 31).

The kitchen – which had been hired out by parents for children’s parties – was shut down for 18 days on March 14 last year and pest control services had to be called in.

Giving evidence, senior environmental health officer Andrew Walker said: “I decided the premises were an imminent risk to health and I closed it for the sake of public protection.”

Pub owner Patrizia Grison said staff had reported sightings of mice and she had even seen one in the lead up to the inspection.

In an interview read out in court, the 46-year-old said she had been working in the catering industry for years and it was a “daily routine seeing mice in the kitchen”.

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The landlady, who lives in the pub, pleaded guilty to seven counts of failing food hygiene standards, but was contesting four charges of selling food out of date as the Ham&High went to press.

Grison, who defended herself in court, said she had taken the pub on three years ago after splitting from her partner.

“It has been a rollercoaster, at the beginning I had great ideas, I expected to have a great menu, to make it a family venue. It was near the church and park and I hoped to attract families,” she said, before breaking down in tears.

“To me it (the kitchen) looked perfect. I was not aware of mice.”

She said she had fired a staff member tasked with keeping the kitchen clean and that the situation was much improved.

The case continues.