The City is watching the pub sector for signs of damage resulting from the food-and-mouth crisis.

Old English Inns is thought to be in greatest danger because of a decline in visitors to rural areas.

The disease would add further difficulties to a company that has already suffered from flooding.

• Brake Bros has warned it could suffer if more public events are cancelled because of foot-and-mouth outbreaks.

The supplier of frozen and chilled food to caters and restaurants said its fear was for its customers which had been hit by a decline in visitors to rural areas.

But it said its wide range of meat products should help the company cope with further incidences of the virus.

Brake announced annual pre-tax profits after goodwill, up from £36.1m to £36.6m on sales up 16.8% to £1.1bn.

It wants to reduce its dependence on its UK market by buying more food companies in France.

Floods, rail and petrol problems affected the results.