‘Only by chance’ no one got food poisoning says council after former March publican fined £2,000 for health and safety offences

PUBLISHED: 12:39 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:10 11 February 2020

Former March publican Nigel Marsh (left) has been ordered to pay more than �3,000 in fines and cost after admitting health and hygiene offences brought by Fenland District Council. Picture: Archant/Supplied

Former March publican Nigel Marsh (left) has been ordered to pay more than �3,000 in fines and cost after admitting health and hygiene offences brought by Fenland District Council. Picture: Archant/Supplied

Archant/Supplied

It was “only by chance” customers of a now closed public close didn’t get food poisoning, a cabinet member of Fenland Council claimed today.

Part of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDC Part of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDC

It was "only by chance" customers of a now closed public close didn't get food poisoning, a cabinet member of Fenland Council claimed today.

Cllr Sam Hoy, portfolio holder for housing, was speaking after former March publican Nigel Marsh was ordered to pay over £3,000 in fines and costs after admitting food hygiene offences.

"These were serious offences and the defendant has a history of poor compliance with food safety and hygiene laws," she said.

"It is only by chance that there was no food poisoning outbreak linked to the premises.

Part of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDC Part of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDC

"The council does not take decisions to prosecute lightly but sometimes it is necessary to protect the public and reassure compliant food businesses that poor food hygiene and safety standards will not be tolerated."

Marsh, 55, of Wisbech Road, March, pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013 at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, January 29.

Fenland Council brought the prosecution against Marsh, a former director of Hospitality Bars Ltd which ran George's public house in March, after repeated failures to adhere to food safety regulations.

On February 4, 2019 environmental health officers carried out an inspection of George's and found serious food hygiene breaches relating to poor cleanliness, poor structure, poor temperature control, inadequate staff training and a lack of food safety management procedures.

Part of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDCPart of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDC

The kitchen was closed voluntarily while the issues were addressed. Enforcement notices had been previously served and environmental health officers had offered advice and guidance on past visits, as well as in letters to Marsh. However, the inspection on February 4, 2019 revealed standards had deteriorated again.

"Given the seriousness of the breaches and the past poor history of compliance the Council decided to bring prosecution proceedings against Mr Marsh as the director of Hospitality Bars Ltd," said a spokesman for Fenland Council. "On sentencing, the magistrates found that Mr Marsh had a high level of culpability due to his poor food safety record and considered the offences serious."

In mitigation, the magistrates noted that Marsh had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, had accepted ultimate responsibility and had no relevant previous convictions.

Marsh was fined £2,000 with a £170 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Part of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDC Part of the kitchens and bar area of George's, March, that were shown to magistrates when former publican Nigel Marsh appeared before them facing health and hygiene charges that he admitted. Picture; FDC

Marsh quit the pub last summer after what he described as eight eventful years that included winning £25,000 compensation from Cambridgeshire Police for wrongful arrest when he took over.

He said on the day the pub closed: "I have laughed, cried, listened, been agony aunt, mourned and loved Georges and Georges' people."

Happier times: Presentation of the best designed Diamond Jubilee window competition in March. Best Pub, L-R Nigel Marsh, Mayor Jan French and town councillor Rob SkouldingHappier times: Presentation of the best designed Diamond Jubilee window competition in March. Best Pub, L-R Nigel Marsh, Mayor Jan French and town councillor Rob Skoulding

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