Stiff penalty for publican who deliberately held lock in during lock down

Wednesday 1 April 2020 Stiff penalty for publican who deliberately held lock in during lock down


A local council has used its powers working with Nottinghamshire Police to shut a pub under the new Covid 19 rules after a pub licence holder deliberately flouted the lock down rules and held a lock in at her pub, putting lives in danger.

Officers were called to a pub in Ashfield over the weekend following reports there had been a lock in held despite the clear Government guidance that this is not allowed.

Following new guidance around social distancing all bars and clubs have been asked to shut in order to stop the spread of Coronavirus. However nationally there have been reports of some flouting these rules and hosting “lock ins” instead.

This included at a bar in Ashfield, where the pub licence holder, unbeknownst to the bar owners, deliberately held a lock in for regulars.

Ashfield District Council licensing department working with the police took swift action to have the pub closed and as a result of this action the pub licence holder has been sacked by the pub owners and she has also been evicted from the premises, where she was living with her boyfriend.

Licensing Officers from the Sutton-In-Ashfield neighbourhood policing team are investigating the alleged incident and working with the Council to consider the potential for prosecution.

Chief Supt Rob Griffin said: “This result sends a very clear message to everyone that the police and our partners will not tolerate those people who deliberately break the rules and put other people’s lives in danger by their selfish actions.

“The Government has been very specific that rules need to be followed so that lives can be saved. Those who choose to ignore these rules run the risk of swift action like has been taken here and they could face a criminal prosecution as well.  People have got to take this seriously. This is about saving lives.

“I would like to thank the pub owners for their cooperation on this matter which avoided the necessity for a Licensing Review which would have been timely in us getting the results we have achieved here. This also demonstrates team working between our organisations – council and police - for a swift response.”

He added all stock and alcohol has also now been removed from the premises following the action. This will prevent the premises from being used as they were on Saturday.

Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety said “The irresponsible actions of the bar manager were the root cause of this incident. The government has restrictions in place for a reason. It beggars belief why this group of people thought it was acceptable to have a private party when the majority of residents were staying home to help save lives.

“Drinking with even one friend goes against the government’s guidelines, and unless people start adhering to these guidelines the number of coronavirus cases will continue to increase. The Police have the powers to fine people, and the Council will work with them wherever necessary to ensure that people behave as they are asked. Please stay home and save lives.”

“The swift action between the Council and Police demonstrates that this behaviour will not be tolerated. It’s selfish behaviour that is putting lives at risk.”

The landlady is expected to be prosecuted for offences under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 for allowing the premises to be open. Under these powers anyone found guilty of an offence, may then find themselves being prevented from obtaining a licence anywhere else in the country.

Police and licensing officials will visit any businesses thought to still be flouting the rules and will order them to close. Most premises have been happy to abide by the new rules, recognising the need for them.

Government advice is very clear:
- Stay at home
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
- Do not meet others, even friends or family.
You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms. By ignoring these guidelines, not only are you increasing your chances of catching the virus, you are also increasing the chances of someone else catching it.