December 13 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
A Suffolk pub has had its licence to sell alcohol taken away after twice being caught selling drink to under-age youngsters.
Dave and Debbie Atkinson, who have run the Three Mariners, Trimley St Mary, for the past eight years, had their license revoked by Suffolk Coastal’s licensing sub committee following a request from Trading Standards.
Officers said there had been “persistent sales” to children.
Councillors said the events amounted to “serious and blatant illegality” at the pub in High Road and were “very shocking and disappointing”.
The couple had been warned that a test purchasing operation – where children are sent into pubs and off licences to try to buy alcohol – would take place.
On February 21, volunteers aged 16 and 17 were sold alcohol by Mr Atkinson without being asked for ID.
An £80 fixed penalty was issued, a written warning and advice as to procedures.
Then on May 16, another test purchase resulted in two 17 year old volunteers purchasing bottles of cider without being asked for ID.
A licensing committee spokesman said Trading Standards had not been over-hasty or harsh in their enforcement of the law and had given warnings and advice.
Mr Atkinson appeared “not to appreciate the fact that an under-age sale may be a criminal offence as well as a cause of concern to the licensing authority, even if not done knowingly or deliberately”.
He said: “This is a very shocking and disappointing story that must give concern to us as the licensing authority.
“The Home Secretary’s guidance makes clear, under-age sales of alcohol are always totally unacceptable.
“We have concluded that it is essential that we take a step in response to this review which brings home to the licence holders, their landlord and the wider community the fact that this illegality will not be tolerated.”
After the second test purchase, Mr and Mrs Atkinson, who have been running pubs for 30 years, gave six months’ notice to landlord, Enterprise Inns Ltd, and said they would be willing to leave when they found a new home.
Mr and Mrs Atkinson were not available for comment.