Aga - the kitchen appliance maker based in the West Midlands - is to appear before the High Court after a pub company blamed one of its fryers for a #600,000 fire.

The #387 million firm, whose headquarters are in Solihull, serviced a deep-fat fryer at the Halfway House pub in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, in October 2001.

The next month a fire started in the kitchen and spread to the pub roof and restaurant.

Whitbread Group, which owns the Halfway House, blames Aga for the blaze because it says it ?inadequately? serviced the fryer.

In a High Court writ Whitbread?s insurers write: ? The fire was caused by a deep-fat fryer which had been repaired and maintained by the defendant.

?The defendant acted in breach of the duty implied by section 14 of the Sales of Goods Act 1979 in installing an operational thermostat which did not work, failed after less than a month in service, was less durable than it should have been, was not fit for purpose and was not of satisfactory quality.?

An Aga spokeswoman said: ? We are going through the legal process with this.? No date has been set for the case.