Hotel Loses Its Licence After Drinkers Pose With Pints During Lockdown
A hotel has lost its alcohol licence after a group of punters shared photos of them enjoying an illegal knees-up.
Police raided The Grosvenor House Hotel, in North Parade, Skegness, after the pictures were spotted on Facebook.
The customers had shared a snap showing a group of lads slumped in chairs surrounded by empty pint pots, with the caption: "What lockdown?" followed by laughing emojis.
Officers seized CCTV from the property, which showed the hotel's owner Russell Sparks behind the bar and serving booze to punters on 13 and 14 November - almost two weeks into the second lockdown, during which all pubs were obliged to closed.
And if breaking lockdown rules wasn't enough, footage also showed some of the group smoking inside, which has been illegal since 2007.
The Alcohol Licensing Team from Lincolnshire Police has now successfully applied for the hotel to lose its alcohol licence.
Speaking about the incident, 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 15 people in the bar area.
"They were being served pint after pint by the owner of the premises Mr Sparks."
Sgt Enderby said she was shocked by the total disregard for public safety.
She said: "Obviously this hotel bar should have been closed; people should not have been allowed inside to drink alcohol.
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"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 13 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."
The ban was agreed on 19 January and Mr Sparks has 21 days to appeal the decision.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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