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Gorleston pub closed after rat infestation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:31 06 July 2010

The New Commodore in Gorleston

The New Commodore in Gorleston

A Gorleston pub has been closed down for safety's sake after rats gnawed their way from a cellar to its bar, it emerged yesterday.

The New Commodore was ordered to close its doors to customers after environmental health officers found the infestation.

A Gorleston pub has been closed down for safety's sake after rats gnawed their way from a cellar to its bar, it emerged yesterday.

The New Commodore was ordered to close its doors to customers after environmental health officers found the infestation.

As well as the rats, Great Yarmouth Borough Council inspectors also discovered that a dog was being kept in a filthy kitchen at the premises.

The shocking state of the High Street pub came to light in an operation involving the council, police, trading standards staff, customs and excise officials

and the Department for Work and Pensions.

During a raid on Friday, two people, a 31-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of drug offences.

Yesterday, the conditions in the New Commodore were made public as health officers asked Yarmouth magistrates to endorse the emergency prohibition order that had closed the pub on Friday.

Donna Baldwin, a senior environmental health officer, said rat droppings had been found in the cellar and the rodents had infested large parts of the pub.

The rats had even chewed some of the lagging around beer pipes.

Ms Baldwin added: “The rats had gnawed all the way to the bar serving area.”

The inspection also found that a dog was being kept in the kitchen and that a dog bowl was close to tea towels and work surfaces.

Magistrates were told that the kitchen's sink was filthy, floors were covered in mould, food debris littered the area and plugs were not safe.

Ms Baldwin said: “It was evident [that] if the pub was allowed to trade public safety would be significantly compromised.”

The licensee, Kelly Sayers, did not attend yesterday's hearing, and she now has to prove to the council that the building is free of vermin and up to council hygiene standards before she can reopen.

Ms Sayers was ordered to pay £183 costs for yesterday's hearing and could be prosecuted by the council for alleged food safety offences.

Friday's raid was co-ordinated because of various concerns that people had raised relating to the pub.

Insp Richard Graveling, of Norfolk police, said: “The operation was part of our ongoing work with licensed premises in the town and was a very good result for us and our partner agencies. Officers carried out reassurance visits to nearby homes, and it was clear the operation was positively received by local people.”

The 31-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possessing class-A drugs with intent to supply.

The 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of having a controlled drug.

Both have been released on police bail until November 18, and investigations are continuing.

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