Pubs could be held liable for drunks

LANDLORDS have been warned they could face penalties and end up with a criminal record if drunks arrested for vandalism or anti-social behaviour came from their pubs and clubs.

LANDLORDS have been warned they could face penalties and end up with a criminal record if drunks arrested for vandalism or anti-social behaviour came from their pubs and clubs.

Police have told licensees there is not a witchhunt going on, but they could face trouble if they allow people to become drunk in their bars or served someone who was already worse for drink when they arrived at the premises.

Sgt Mick Richardson said both instances were ticketable offences - and could give the premises a criminal record.

It was also information which could then be given to the licensing authority when new applications were made for premises.

“We are not operating any kind of witchunt but there may come a time when an officer decides to follow up on a case where someone is arrested for being drunk and disorderly or an incident,” he told a meeting of the Felixstowe Nightsafe Partnership.

“They will go back and look at how that person got into that state for the offences to occur.

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“The person will tell us in interview where they have been drinking and officers could go to the pub or club and find out who served the alcohol and why when clearly the person was drunk or becoming drunk.

“That could lead to a landlord or his staff being given a ticket and having to pay the penalty.

“I am not making threats, but I am saying what could happen at some stage if an officer decided to investigate.”

Sgt Richardson said it was up to landlords to assess the state of a person when they came into the bar and decide whether or not to serve them - if they had already drunk a lot, they should refuse them alcohol. They should also keep an eye on people buying drink.

Landlords expressed concern about keeping an eye on people at very busy times, especially if people were buying rounds for groups of drinkers.

Nightsafe chairman Mark Moseley, owner of the Bandbox on Bent Hill, suggested bar staff toured the premises during the evening to keep an eye on drinkers.

He urged members to also keep a record book of any incidents so they could show police they were aware of potential problems or customers causing trouble or being turned away.

Do you think pubs should be fined when customers get drunk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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