Hearing into Holbeach hotel accused of fraud and smuggling

The Chequers Hotel, Holbeach.
The Chequers Hotel, Holbeach.
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A licence review for a Holbeach pub which voluntarily closed its doors last month will be held on Thursday morning.

Lincolnshire Police called for the hearing into the High Street premises, citing fraud, smuggling of goods, unauthorised licensable activities and a recent lack of management.

The pub was also at the centre of discussions on social media in November, after what police described as an “altercation” between teenagers outside the premises.

A panel of South Holland District Council’s planning committee will consider the future of the pub, which has been owned by Mark and Chony Andrews since June 2009.

The committee will hear there is currently no designated premises supervisor at the premises since Janis Mulgrave withdrew her position on December 2 while Mr and Mrs Andrews were abroad.

She notified the licensing authority that all alcohol had been removed from the premises and it would be closed pending the couple’s return.

The application for the review of a premises licence came from police, following a visit with Trading Standards, and a further visit from the district council’s licensing team.

The district council and Trading Standards also submitted formal representations.

The application to review the licence relates to all four licensing objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety; the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

Police will submit evidence in relation to fraud; keeping or allowing smuggled goods to be kept on the premises; unauthorised licensable activities and lack of duty to keep and produce the premises licence.

During a council visit on November 30, it is claimed the hotel breached ‘prevention of crime and disorder’ licensing conditions as the CCTV record book had not been completed for two days and there were no cameras placed to cover higher risk areas such as the bar.

The hotel will also be accused of breaching the ‘public safety’ aspect of licensing conditions by having no trained first aider on the premises.

Also, no external lighting was turned on, breaching the ‘prevention of public nuisance’ objective, designed to disuade people from congregating.

They also say the entrance to the hotel was covered in litter and smoking debris.

They claim the hotel also contravened the ‘protection of children from harm’ objective by having no proof of age system in use, the last record of a refusals log having been made in January 2013.

Also, the only member of staff on duty was not a personal licence holder and this breached a condition attached after a licensing authority hearing in April 2012.

This condition was also breached by the member of staff confirming he had no training relating to the 2003 Licensing Act. The premises licence was also not prominently displayed, as required by the act.

After hearing representations and any evidence and submissions made at the hearing, the panel may: modify the conditions of the licence; exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence; suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months; revoke the licence; or leave the licence in its current state. Any decision will be subject to appeal to the Magistrates Court.