Pubs caught serving in lockdown – James Holding successful in licence revocation application

James Holding, instructed by South Yorkshire Police, was successful in an application to revoke the alcohol premises licences for the Pitsmoor Hotel and Staffordshire Arms public houses in Sheffield which had been ordered to close under the Licensing Act 2003 due to the premises operating in breach of Health Protection (Coronavirus restrictions) Regulations 2020

The case caught local and national media attention when a police search of the Pitsmoor Hotel revealed customers hiding in cupboards and store rooms.

The application, made to the licensing sub-committee of Sheffield City Council under s52 Licensing Act 2003, took place remotely via Zoom.

The investigation was based on reports from members of the public that customers had been seen entering both premises via the side doors. Subsequent police investigations revealed CCTV evidence that showed customers present and drinking in the Staffordshire Arms on one occasion in early April and circumstantial evidence for other dates. Despite being served with a Prohibition Notice under the Coronavirus legislation, South Yorkshire Police continued to receive reports that the Staffordshire Arms was still serving customers.

In relation to the Pitsmoor Hotel, following a number of reports from members of the public, Police attended and conducted a search of the premises. Body-worn video footage of the attending officer revealed two women hiding in an upstairs wardrobe and a man hidden in a side room who claimed he was a gas fitter.

Under cross-examination, it was also revealed that the Pitsmoor Hotel had been serving alcohol whilst its premises licence was suspended due to non-payment on licensing fees.

Representations were made by a number of relevant authorities including Sheffield Children’s Safeguarding Partnership, Department for Public Health and Trading Standards.

Mr Paul Greasby, the designated premises supervisor for both premises, opposed the application.

Mr Greasby has 21 days to appeal the decision.

For BBC press coverage  click here

For YEP press coverage  click here

James is a member of the Regulatory Team  and acts for both the prosecution & the defence in proceedings that have been brought by  private agencies including local authorities, the Home Office and the police.