A COSTA coffee branch near York has become the only one in the country to receive a ZERO rating from hygiene inspectors.

The company was told urgent improvement was needed at its branch in Market Place in Pocklington.

Inspectors gave it a score of 0 out of 5, and ratings of poor for food hygiene and safety and very bad for structural compliance. They said they had no confidence in management.

The cafe was closed immediately, but re-opened the next day once action had been taken and staff are being given further training.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has so far declined to make the full inspection report public, but Costa blamed a problem with a drain in an unused basement and said all necessary action was taken immediately.

York Press:

The branch in Market Place

A spokeswoman said: "It is extremely important to us that all our stores operate to high standards of hygiene and we take it very seriously when any store fails to meet these high standards.

"We have robust measures in place to address poor standards and work closely with the environmental health officers to immediately rectify any concerns. In the case of Costa, Market Place, Pocklington, we understand a drain in the unused basement was causing odours and prompted an environmental health officer visit."

She said the branch voluntarily closed on the day of the inspection, March 8, while "issues relating to hygiene were addressed".

She said: "All issues raised by the environmental health officer have been rectified and the drain issue is being resolved. The store has undergone an extensive deep clean and all team members have received further retraining on the high standards we expect in our stores. We apologise to all our customers for any inconvenience the short closure may have caused."

Costa defended itself against criticism in a national newspaper last autumn, after it emerged it had more unsatisfactory ratings on the national Scores On The Doors website than any of its high-street rivals, which remains the case.

The Pocklington branch has its only zero, but nine other branches scored one and around 20 scored two. The company has nearly 2,000 branches nationwide. The vast majority scored top marks.

The branch in Cambridge Road, Harrogate, scored three, and is the only other branch in Yorkshire not to score maximum marks.

The Press asked East Riding of Yorkshire Council for the full report and it is likely to be released in the coming weeks, under Freedom of Information laws.

A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: "The council's food services team works with any business given a zero, one or two rating until they become broadly compliant.

"The team will give the business instructions on what compliance works needs undertaking to bring the rating up and a time frame in which this must be achieved.

"The business must then demonstrate that they can maintain this level of compliance before a re-inspection can be made and a new rating given."