ONE of the oldest pubs in Southampton has closed its doors after health inspectors found the kitchen was infested with rats.

A damning inspection of the Old Farmhouse pub found rat droppings in a food storage area and no hot water supply for the whole building.

A report from the Food Standards Agency, who carried out the inspection, stated it needed “urgent improvement” and gave it food hygiene rating of 0 out of 5.

The 17th century pub in Mount Pleasant Road was the only food establishment in the city to score a zero in recent times.

Environmental health officer, Nicholas Cox, from the Food Standards Agency, reported finding rat droppings behind the ice machine the food storage area.

He also said the building was not structurally sound and gaps, holes, windows, pipes, and drains must be filled or covered to prevent rodents entering.

Mr Cox also said the pub had failed in its legal requirements to run a food safety management system and was unable to produce necessary records and documents referring to its food management when he visited.

According to Mr Cox, at the time of the inspection on February 25, the premises appeared to be winding down operations.

Instead of opting to rectify the faults the pub opted for voluntary closure and stopped trading two weeks later, on March 12.

The doors of the premiss are now chained shut and rubbish lies strewn about its side entrance.

A spokesperson for the pub’s owners Enterprise Inns said: “At the time of the inspection, the pub was being operated by a separate management company and we will be addressing the matter with them.”

Former general manager, Vicky Hamilton has been unavailable to comment and the pubs’ website and phone number no longer work.

Ms Hamilton worked for Pub Solutions Limited, the company who managed the Old Farmhouse.

Director of the company Anita Ing, said: “We were managing the site on a temporary basis for Enterprise Inns. We were there for three months during which time no food was sold.

“Repairs and structural problems were down to the landlord to fix. We have a contract with a pest control company who inspect and deal with any problems.

“Historical pest problems there were identified and baits were installed and seals applied to holes. We have now left the site.”

Jelly Rai the manager of J.S.Autos, which stands opposite the pub, said: “We used to go in after work.

“ Years ago the pub had a good reputation but lately not many people went in. Vicky would close early at 9pm and only a couple of customers would go in during the day.”

Agents Savills is now advertising the pub with a guide price of £395,000 for the leasehold.

The Grade II listed building features many of its original features such as low ceilings, exposed beams and brickwork, wood panelling and open fireplaces.

It is even rumoured Oliver Cromwell stayed there in the 1650s.