THE owner of a popular high street nightspot has admitted failing to keep employees safe at work after a worker fell through a cellar hatch.

At Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Stonegate Pub Company Limited, which owns the Slug and Lettuce brand, admitted two counts of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff at its branch in High Street, Colchester.

No plea was entered for three separate charges of contravening health and safety regulations and another charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff.

The court heard on October 17, 2017, a delivery driver is understood to have fallen through the hatch and injured themselves, leading to Colchester Council bringing charges against the company.

The severity of his injuries is not known.

Colchester Council claims the company failed to maintain the lift to the cellar and its electronic hatch doors – which is says contributed to the incident taking place.

Victoria Jempson, prosecuting on behalf of Colchester Council, said: “The issue relates to a cellar hatch and the system used to take deliveries through it.

“The company failed to maintain this hatch and items were still moved using it over a significant period.”

Alice Jarrett, mitigating on behalf of the company, said there was no need for the company to face the remaining charges after admitting the most serious offences.

She added: “These are charges under section two, and section three of the Health and Safety at Work Act and four related charges, all of which are related to the offence and would be covered by the original charges.

“We are in negotiations with the prosecution and we are hoping we will be in a position to move forward soon.

She added: “The company accepts a risk was created because the door was not maintained.”

District Judge John Wollard adjourned the matter until Friday, January 11, so the basis of plea could be negotiated between the prosecution and defence.

The company will be sentenced the same day.