Brewery giant convicted of licensing offence

One of Britain’s largest breweries has had to pay out almost £2,000 after admitting to breaking one of the licensing conditions imposed on it by Merton Council.

The council took action after discovering Punch Taverns, which has nearly 9,000 pubs across the country including South Wimbledon’s Grove Tavern, and pub leaseholder Lee Harwood failed to keep watch outside the venue during organised events.

Licensing officers prosecuted Punch Taverns and Mr Harwood, who both pleaded guilty when they appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates Court.

The court heard how the company and Mr Harwood did not carry out hourly patrols outside the pub when bands were playing, or other entertainments had been arranged for Grove Tavern regulars, as they are supposed to under the terms of their licence.

The condition is in place to make sure Merton residents are not kept awake by noise and nuisance late at night.

Magistrates fined Punch Taverns plc £500 and ordered the firm to pay £1,250 in costs. Mr Harwood was fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 costs. Both now have a criminal record.

Preventing noise and public nuisance is one of Merton Council’s key aims.

Cabinet member for Partnerships and Community Safety, Councillor David Simpson explained: “The protection of the public from noise and nuisance is extremely important and the decision of the licensing officers and of the magistrates shows the determination both this council and the court have in maintaining that protection.”

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