YORK Brewery faces a £44,600 court bill after a man fell through a trapdoor in one of its pubs.

The trapdoor stretched from wall to wall of the corridor behind the bar of the Last Drop Inn in Colliergate, and had inadequate safety precautions, said Victoria Waudby, prosecuting.

When a delivery driver arrived with a supply of gas cylinders, the corridor was in darkness. As he stepped aside to let an employee turn on the lights he fell five feet through the open trapdoor onto the cellar floor.

The driver suffered knee, arm and rib injuries that prevented him working for three months.

More than a year later he is still suffering shooting pains and has been told he will need surgery, the court heard.

His injuries have also affected his personal life and led to him suffering from depression.

He now has psychological problems when delivering to dark areas of pubs.

District judge David Kitson said: “Why the trap door had been left open remains a mystery.”

City of York Council officers had warned York Brewery, which owns the pub, about the need to guard the trapdoor when open in 2011. It was open on average eight times a day.

But for three years prior to the fall on July 13, 2017, the protecting chains had not been used properly, he said.

A council spokesman said afterwards: “This was a serious breach of health and safety, which resulted in the driver sustaining life changing injuries.

"It was a miracle that no one else was seriously hurt or injured before this incident took place."

York Brewery managing director Jonathan Barker said he regretted the injuries to the delivery driver and hoped he would recover well.

“I am absolutely certain it won’t happen again,” he said. “We have taken remedial action to make sure it cannot happen again. We have a good health and safety record in general.”

Asked if members of the public and employees were safe in the company’s pubs, he said: “Yes, absolutely.”

The company, which employs 55 people and is based in Toft Green, York, pleaded guilty to three offences under health and safety legislation - failure to have a proper risk assessment, failure to carry out its business without protecting people properly and failure to protect people from falling from a height.

It was fined £39,480 and ordered to pay £4,972.54 prosecution costs to City of York Council, which prosecuted it and a £170 statutory surcharge.

Mrs Waudby told York Magistrates' Court when the council's public protection officers visited the pub in September 2017, they found one safety chain was missing and the other was not attached properly.

Mark Ainsworth, for the company, said the trapdoor appeared to have been left open all night against the pub’s usual operating procedures.

The pub had been in a "transition" stage following the sudden departure of its manager on July 10, 2017.

The company had since sealed the trapdoor and changed the way the pub operated to prevent a repetition.

Mrs Waudby said the delivery driver was suing York Brewery over the incident. He suffered a dislocated knee, torn and damaged knee ligaments and cuts and bruises to his ribs and arm.

His injuries had prevented him resuming his running career and his wife had lost financially through having to care for him.