Saturday, February 27, 2021

Skegness hotel loses alcohol licence after opening during lockdown

The Grosvenor House Hotel, North Parade, Skegness has had its Alcohol Premises Licence Revoked after opening during the November lockdown.

Following a visit to the hotel on 19 November 2020, where officers seized CCTV footage, the Alcohol Licensing Team from Lincolnshire Police submitted paperwork for a Licence Review Hearing.

The footage showed that The Grosvenor Hotel was open and trading on Friday 13th November 2020 and Saturday 14th November 2020.

Sergeant Kim Enderby, Alcohol Licensing Manager for Lincolnshire Police, said: “Following that initial Facebook image being sent to my team we carried out a thorough investigation. We quickly attended at the hotel and carried out a review of the CCTV hard drive.

“I thought after 29 years in the police there wasn’t a lot left to shock me but the way in which this venue was operating was awful. Nearly two weeks after the November lockdown had started we found footage of over fifteen people in the bar area. They were being served pint after pint by the owner of the premises Mr Sparks.

“Obviously this hotel bar should have been closed; people should not have been allowed inside to drink alcohol. But of equal concern was the total lack of social distancing measures in place.

“At one point over ten men were crammed round a small table drinking and posing for what we think were the Facebook posts. There were no face masks being worn by customers or staff, nothing had been put in place to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

“We also discovered footage of three males smoking in the bar area, despite the fact that it has been illegal to smoke on licensed premises in England since 1st July 2007 – over thirteen years. The males were seen to be drinking and smoking whilst children sat and ate at a table behind them.

“Mr Sparks claimed it was an error of judgement on his part to open the bar but that is a poor excuse. The blatant disregard for both the closure order and social distancing measures demonstrates a lack of management and control over these premises.

“We are not yet out of this pandemic, whilst the vaccine rollout is well under way, we still need everyone to be sensible and follow the regulations. Anyone responsible for running licensed premises is expected to do so responsibly and within the law.

“The decision of East Lindsey District Council to revoke this licence sends a really strong deterrent message to anyone owning or running licensed premises. They need to follow the guidance, operate lawfully and responsibly. We will not hesitate to take action against any licensed premises whose operation presents a risk to the public, where there is criminality and where the licensing objectives are undermined.”

Yesterday (19 January 2021), a digital hearing was held in front of Skegness District Council Licensing Sub-Committee. After hearing the evidence they agreed with the police that this licenced premises had opened in breach of regulations when other businesses were subject to closure.

The Sub-Committee were of the view that the breaches were so serious in a time when coronavirus was particularly prevalent in the area and when the Government had declared a national lockdown for the country that it was appropriate for the promotion of all four of the licensing objectives to revoke the licence.

Lincolnshire Police initially received a photograph from a Facebook account which appeared to show a group of males sat in a large group drinking pints and posing for photos.

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