Ludlow pub fined £1,000 for breaching lockdown restrictions

A pub in Ludlow has become the first in Shropshire to be fined by the council for breaching Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The venue, which has not been named by the county council, has been fined £1,000.

Shropshire Council said monitoring by council officers and reports from members of the public showed the pub was selling alcohol from its premises and allowing customers to remain adjacent to the site while drinking.

The council had previously told a Bridgnorth pub to shut for 48 hours due to alleged breaches of the "substantial meal" rules but this is the first pub to be punished in the county during lockdown.

Frances Darling, the authority's trading standards and licensing operations manager, said: “The council takes no pleasure in issuing fines and I’m extremely disappointed that we have had to resort to issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice in the case of a Ludlow premises. However, the risks for our Shropshire communities are far too serious for us not to take an extremely robust enforcement position.

"I must warn licensees that significant contraventions will inevitably lead to enforcement action. Repeat offenders may see their premises licence reviewed, which may ultimately lead to their licence being revoked.

“We do understand that these are extremely challenging times and that there are pubs who are literally fighting for survival. We want to reassure pub owners that we will support them to comply with the restrictions; however, the increasingly serious position that we find ourselves in means that owners must ensure compliance with all the restrictions.

“I do want to thank all those pubs who are following the rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus and ask that they continue to take this responsibility very seriously.”

Public safety

Superintendent Mo Lansdale, of West Mercia Police, said: "The majority of people and establishments are adhering to the legislation and we are ever grateful to them for following the restrictions. We know it is an extremely stressful and worrying time for so many in our community. However, every one of the regulations is in place for the public’s health and safety.

“We will continue to engage with the public and encourage them to follow the regulations, but in cases where people and businesses do breach the legislation, enforcement action will be taken. This is ultimately to save lives.

“Again, thank you to all of you who are adhering to the restrictions.”

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, added: “The council’s top priority is to protect the health and safety of our communities.

“Not only is this sort of activity a danger to public health, it goes entirely against the spirit of the lockdown and is hugely unfair to the many hospitality businesses following the restrictions.

“The council fully appreciates that the past 12 months have been challenging for businesses, but we all have a responsibility to follow the restrictions that are in place to keep everyone safe. I urge everyone to step up and do their bit. We must not lose sight of the fact that coronavirus is highly infectious, and it thrives on contact between people. If the restrictions are not followed, the risk to individuals and our NHS is extremely high.

“I would like to thank all those pubs who are following the rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus and ask that they continue to take this responsibility very seriously.”

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