Warrington Publicans are “too scared” to call the Police

PUB BRAWLLicensees in Warrington claim they will no longer call the police when there are incidents at their premises for fear that it will be used as evidence against them in licensing reviews.

Warrington Borough Council is set to review the licences of both Shenanigans and Voodoo Lounge, in Warrington’s city centre, due to alleged problems at these bars. This comes after the review of the venue, Fusion, also in Warrington City Centre in December 2014, following allegations of brawling outside the bar, which led to a 3 month suspension of the licence and the imposition of new conditions.

Earlier this year, the Publican magazine reported that police arranged meetings with each late night operator in Warrington to persuade them to close earlier, prompting some licensees to think that the police were attempting to bring in an early morning restriction order without going through the formal procedure.
An operator with 5 venues in the North-West of England, including Voodoo Lounge states that police officers had been “relentless” in investigating his bar and that he feels too threatened to contact the police when there are incidents, in case this is used against him in a future action to review his licences.

“Most weekends seven police officers are watching my front door waiting for something to occur,” says Neil Sparks who operated Voodoo Lounge, among others. “They question anyone who is ejected from the premises by door staff to see if they can log it as an incident, whether it is serious or not.”
Another late night operator said that if there were any incidents they would be frightened of calling the police because they might shut them down because of it.

Cheshire police themselves state that is a mere coincidence that these 3 premises have been or are being reviewed.

As licensing lawyers, we often hear licensees complain that police collate evidence of alleged problems at the bar without telling them and give no warning prior to a review. Licensing guidance however clearly states that if there are issues, police should speak to the premises operators about them. It may seem that Licensees are responsibly reporting incidents to police and these are being turned around and thrown back at them during review. The police requests at most reviews are that they either want the closing time to be earlier or else they want revocation of the licence. Either may have dire consequences because often a venues’ main profit comes from their late night opening and an earlier closing time can cause a venue to go out of business.

If you are experiencing such problems do not hesitate to contact our Maria Guida in our Licensing Team on 0207 632 1432. Email: maria@fletcherday.co.uk

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The Sky’s the Limit

SKY 2Glasgow Pub Ordered to Pay £70,000.00 for Illegal Sky Sports Use
The largest ever fine has been given to a Glasgow Pub for illegal Sky TV use after Avalon Bar have been ordered to pay £70,000.00 in fines, damages and legal costs for showing Sky Sports illegally in their pub.

Avalon Bar which is now called Whiski Kraft, was found to be in breach of Sky’s copyright by showing Sky Sports without the necessary commercial agreement in a Court of Session ruling last February.

Later on in 2014, the licensees were facing problems again as they were found to be in contempt of court for breaching an injunction obtained by Sky to prevent further infringements.
The cost now totals £73,300.00 including £10,000.00 damages relating to the infringement that took place and combined court fees of £7,000.00 in respect of the charge of contempt of court. Sky Business has described the proceedings as a “landmark ruling,” demonstrating “how seriously the courts treat copyright infringement and reiterates that Sky Sports can only be shown legally in pubs via a commercial agreement, directly from Sky.”
“Copyright infringement creates an uneven playing field for thousands of hard working licensees who legitimately invest in Sky Sports, which is why we are committed to visiting thousands of pubs as well as investigating suppliers, to protect our customers and ensure they are not left short changed by illegal activity.”
It seems that Sky are increasing the numbers of actions against licensees in an attempt to prevent infringement of Sky copyright.
Sky obviously hopes that this case sets a precedent which will warn others against showing Sky Sports in their pubs without the required commercial agreement. Sky states that this clearly demonstrates to any venue which chooses to show Sky Sports without a licence, that they are committing copyright infringement and will face legal action.
The financial implications are obviously hefty.

If you are a licensee and worried about your use of Sky Sports or are facing an action for infringement, please do not hesitate to speak to Fletcher Day’s Licensing Department.

Contact: Maria Guida, Partner and head of Licensing, Fletcher Day Solicitors

email: maria@fletcherday.co.uk

Tel: 0207 632 1432

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World Cup Blues, I mean, News!

3000 pubs in London will be opening late to show the England v Italy game on Saturday 14 June

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Test Purchase Tale

Whether you agree with the practice employed by Trading Standards officers to make undercover test purchases to catch out the unwary, it remains a tried and tested way for local councils to ensure that their licensees are complying with the law. … Continue reading

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What Lies Beneath? Who Owns the Basement Vaults?

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There are many properties in Covent Garden, Soho and all over London with basement vaults under the pavement, and even the public highway. It is often difficult to decide who owns them. This problem often arises in ground floor and … Continue reading

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The Permanent Guide to Temporary Events Notices

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It should be relatively simple to get a TEN, but the application process is paved with pitfalls. Temporary event notices (TENs) are a way of obtaining permission for small, occasional events, which can be held anywhere from a village hall … Continue reading

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Live Music Act update: Music to my Ears (Reprise)

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As we reported on in our earlier artcle on live music and recorded music, https://fdlicensing.com/2012/10/06/music-to-their-ears-musicians-and-pubs-alike-celebrate-as-restrictions-on-live-music-are-lifted/ the Live Music Act came into effect in October last year. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has just published its response to the Consultation on Entertainment Deregulation, … Continue reading

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Wine Barred: Irresponsible Drinks Promotions. What Are They?

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This evening on our way to Embankment tube station, we saw two young women brandishing an empty pint glass and encouraging everyone that passed to go to the new bar around the corner where they would receive a free glass … Continue reading

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Music to their ears… musicians and pubs alike celebrate as restrictions on live music are lifted.

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 The Live Music Act received Royal Assent on 8 March 2012 and came into force on 1 October 2012.  Now venues where the audience will be 200 people or less will no longer need a licence to stage live music … Continue reading

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NHS calls time in Islington as its Primary Care Trust flexes its muscles as a “Responsible Authority” objecting to an alcohol licence on health grounds.

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In March this year, the government published its “Alcohol Strategy.” In its foreward, David Cameron commented that “binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue. It accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes … Continue reading

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