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Hotel that was twice given zero star food hygiene ratings in court over food safety offences

PUBLISHED: 13:37 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 28 September 2018

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

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Food inspectors found “unfit food” being offered to diners that had been prepared in “poorly maintained and unclean premises” when they visited the Limes Hotel, a court heard.

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILThese pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

J and R Hospitality Ltd, who ran the hotel restaurant, pleaded guilty to six food hygiene offences, committed between November 11, 2017 and May 23, 2018 when they appeared at Suffolk Magistartes’ Court on September 18.

Simon Smith, prosecuting on behalf of the council, told the court that food hygiene inspectors visited the hotel in November and gave it a zero star hygiene rating. When they returned six months later conditions were unimproved and it was again given a zero rating.

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILThese pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

The company was fined £2,666, ordered to pay costs of £570 and a victim surcharge of £170 - a total of £3,466.

Mid Suffolk District Council said a decision was taken at the first inspection to deal with the matter informally and provide support to assist the business.

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILThese pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

The company was informed by letter that if poor standards were found again, this evidence could be used in legal proceedings.

In a statement, Mid Suffolk District Council said: “On November 11, 2017 these fines were given due to the absence of a food safety management system, placing unfit food on the market and for poorly maintained and unclean premises.

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILThese pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

“Following a routine inspection on the May 23, 2018, it was found that the company had made no improvements and the same standards remained, leading to formal action by the council.”

Robert Read, representing his company in court, told magistrates that he was working very long days and had not had enough time to manage the kitchen.

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILThese pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

A follow-up inspection was completed on September 13 to provide the court with information on the hotel’s status.

Food Safety Officers reported that they were now happy with the conditions.

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILThese pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

An additional staff member was now assisting in the kitchen and food was being stored and controlled correctly.

Councillor David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “This is a great result for our food safety officers who work hard to keep the public safe when eating out. The officers take a graduated enforcement approach, offering advice and support to all food businesses, prosecution being the last resort.

These pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCILThese pictures were taken at two different inspections of Limes Hotel in Needham Market, in November 2017 and May 2018. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

“This case shows how important food hygiene ratings are in making sure that members of our community can make an informed decision when heading to a restaurant or café. Preparations for the festive season will soon be upon us and I hope that the food hygiene ratings will play a key role in helping people choose their Christmas meal venue.”

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