Hygiene court action revealed ‘year of hell’

Carrie Plant and 6 month old Daughter Isla . At The Londesborough Arms in Seamer.Carrie recounts her terrible year. pic Richard Ponter 151504b
Carrie Plant and 6 month old Daughter Isla . At The Londesborough Arms in Seamer.Carrie recounts her terrible year. pic Richard Ponter 151504b

As she hugs her little baby Isla, Carrie Plant looks to the 
future after a court case capped off a “year from hell” for the pub landlady.

This week, Scarborough Council took her to court for multiple hygiene breaches at Seamer’s Londesborough Arms Hotel.

A mouldy slab of Brie forced the council to take action, after a January snap inspection found the kitchen to be in a “poor and completely unacceptable” condition.

But Scarborough magistrates heard the 34-year-old hadn’t been at the village pub to see it deteriorate.

Instead she had been dealing with a trio of personal traumas, including the heartbreaking loss of two of her 
unborn triplets.

And at Friday’s hearing, it was the pub’s owner Punch Taverns – not Miss Plant – which bore the brunt of the blame for the venue’s decline.

The firm was slammed for breaking promise after promise to Miss Plant, vowing to complete work that never took place.

Her solicitor Robert Vining claimed those broken promises were one of the main reasons the mum-of-four is facing bankruptcy, while she said her dream of running the pub she had worked at for a decade has been left in tatters.

“I wouldn’t run a pub again in a million years,” said Miss Plant after the hearing.

The court heard how Punch Taverns had been promising to carry out work since 2013 to help spruce up the centuries-old pub, in Main Street.

But Mr Vining, said: “They have not spent a penny.

“They want £70,000 (from Miss Plant) for dilapidation – it was dilapidated when they took it over.

“(Punch Taverns) should be invoiced.”

“Punch Taverns are ditching pubs as soon as they can.”

Those failings from Punch, the court heard, have left Miss Plant facing huge bills and bankruptcy.

She had lost several thousand pounds last year alone, and faces a hefty five-figure bill from Customs and Excise.

And Mr Vining added: “All she will do if she stays on at the pub is lose more and more money and, of course, Punch Taverns don’t want to know.”

In court, Scarborough Council’s legal team showed pictures highlighting the “dirty” kitchen at the pub, which had previously received a one-star food hygiene rating.

But even the council admitted it had “sympathy” for tearful Miss Plant after hearing of her ordeal, with her children’s deaths keeping her in hospital while she kept a vigil for surviving triplet Isla, who was seriously ill for the early part of her life.

Once back at work, she immediately made “significant” improvements.

However, they admitted that Miss Plant’s name above the door ultimately made her responsible for the breaches, for which she was slapped with a £1,200 fine.

After the hearing she admitted she had heard horror stories about working for pub chains before taking over, but hadn’t foreseen the series of tragedies that would befall her.

“I haven’t picked up a wage for a couple of years, but I’ve kept it on for the love of this pub and the people in it,” she said.

“But now I’m just going to forget about it and try and move on, and hope that by the time I’ve paid the money off I will be out of here.

“This will be the last pub I will be at – I’m never going to do it again. And Isla certainly won’t be doing this when she’s older.”

Punch Taverns have yet to comment.