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How long do Publicans really think they can carry on getting away with this?

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How long do Publicans really think they can carry on getting away with this?

The Morning Advertiser today carries 2 articles which just show that, despite all the efforts of the industry, there are still those who do not seem to be picking up on the clear messages being sent out from enforcement bodies.

The first is the prosecution of 2 venues in Cheshire and Merseyside pubs for broadcasting Sky without a licence. See http://bit.ly/2jT4uv9. Whatever your views on this, these prosecutions have been going on for some years now. In short, it’s illegal – don’t do it. There is no excuse for not knowing.

It is noticeable that for one venue the DPS and the Manager were fined personally – so no hiding behind the employer either.

The Morning Advertiser Article reports that fines for these activities are now unlimited, so bearing in mind the long history and all the publicity, you could say they got away likely. But it may not end there, a DPS involved in criminal proceeding risks losing their personal licence, and it is possible a review of the premises licence could follow too.

The second article concerned Food Hygiene, It carries the headline ‘Ex-licensee hit with bill for almost £3,700 over pub ‘ingrained with dirt and grease’ ‘ The accompanying photographs in the article at http://bit.ly/2kd0eD3 make for some sobering viewing – would you want your family to have eaten there?

There were reports on the radio this morning about possible new requirements for venues to display their Food Hygiene Ratings prominently on the premises. This is already the case in Wales and Northern Ireland – why not elsewhere? The sooner we have them displayed compulsorily the better. Currently you only tend to see those who have a 4 or 5 rating proudly displaying the certificates.

The ratings are 0-5 with 0 meaning urgent improvement is required, 5 means that the hygiene standards are very good. If you had a choice between one rated at 0, one at 3 and one at 5 which pub or restaurant would you prefer to go to? It seems obvious that making displaying the rating compulsory will in itself encourage compliance.

These prosecutions are becoming more frequent and venues need to ensure they treat the legislation seriously. Apart from fines and possible closure, should patrons become ill the proprietor also risks civil action.

There is extensive guidance on these issues on the Food Standards Agency website https://www.food.gov.uk/the-website-of-the-food-standards-agency

Peter Adkins

Peter is Director of Regulatory Services at Emms Gilmore Liberson and regarded for his specialism in Licensing and Gambling Law. The guide to the legal profession, The Legal 500, recognises Peter’s specialism in this area and he is regularly engaged by clients all over the country involved in all aspects of the Licensed trade. Peter deals with pubs, restaurants and hotels, social and members clubs, casinos, gambling establishments, shops and late night take-aways. Peter and the firm are able to look after all their legal needs.

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