Police rule out charges after probe into assault claims at restaurant

AN INVESTIGATION which was launched into allegations of assault in the kitchens of one of Yorkshire's leading restaurants has been wound up and no charges will be brought, police said yesterday.

North Yorkshire Police launched the inquiry earlier this year and arrested a 26-year-old employee of the renowned Star Inn at Harome, near Helmsley

A former chef at the Michelin-starred restaurant claimed that he saw another worker being punished by having his head dunked in a vat of lukewarm broccoli and Stilton soup.

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The ex-employee also alleged that his trousers were set alight and, in another incident, that he was stung on the back of his neck with nettles while making a nettle risotto.

However, North Yorkshire Police confirmed yesterday that the investigation which was launched after a 19-year-old man reported an assault in April at a business premises in Harome had been concluded and no charges are to be brought.

A force spokesman also confirmed that a second man aged 23 had made allegations of assault against a 26-year-old man, before a third man made a complaint of common assault. However, none of the allegations had resulted in further action.

The spokesman added: "We have completed our investigations and nobody has been charged."

The business is run by Jacquie Pern with her husband and head chef, Andrew, and she declined to comment yesterday.

However, when the allegations first became public in June, Mrs Pern claimed that many of the 90 full and part-time staff at the restaurant were "in shock" over the claims and was adamant that bullying would not be tolerated at the Star Inn.

The allegations were the latest blow to the restaurant, which was forced to close for several days in November last year after more than 80 diners became ill in a food poisoning alert.

The Star Inn has won a raft of awards since the Perns took over in 1996, including a Michelin star and the Egon Ronay Gastropub of the Year prize in 2006.

Most recently it was named as The Good Pub Guide County Dining Pub of the Year for Yorkshire for 2010. Mr Pern's first book, Black Pudding and Foie Gras, won silver in the Best Chef Book in the World 2009 awards in Paris.