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Manager of Spennymoor restaurant fined for selling alcohol without a license

Published November 24, 2017 11.19am

The manager of a Spennymoor restaurant has been fined over £800 for selling alcohol without a license.

Stephen Metcalfe, 61, of Halfmoon Lane, Spennymoor, pleaded guilty to three counts of selling alcohol at The Olive Grove restaurant despite not having a valid license. 

Members of our licensing team visited The Olive Grove in June 2017 to carry out a routine inspection. It was discovered that the license holder was 'Olive Grove Durham Ltd', a company which was dissolved in August 2015, and therefore the license to sell alcohol had ceased to exist when the company was dissolved. 

As manager of the restaurant, Metcalfe was informed of this via telephone and advised that The Olive Garden no longer held a valid license and therefore the premises could not lawfully sell alcohol. Days later, an off duty police officer informed the council's licensing team that he'd been served alcohol during a family meal, and so a visit by licensing enforcement staff and the police was made to the premises. 

During this visit police seized CCTV and till receipts from the restaurant. The seized CCTV footage clearly showed alcohol being served in The Olive Garden, after Metcalfe had been informed that the license was invalid, and so he was charged on three counts of selling alcohol without a license. 

Guilty plea

Appearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates court on Wednesday 22 November 2017, Metcalfe pleaded guilty to all three charges. 

In mitigation, magistrates heard that Metcalfe did not know about the dissolution of the company which held the license, and that he did subsequently apply for a Temporary Event Notice which would have allowed him to sell alcohol while he applied for a premises license. The Magistrates gave credit for the early guilty pleas and mitigation that the defendant had been in the trade for 30 years without previous infractions. 

Metcalfe was subsequently fined a total of £400, ordered to pay legal costs of £200 and investigation costs of £229.95, as well as pay a victim surcharge of £30. The total amount payable of £859.25 is to be paid by monthly instalments of £100.00 with the first payment due in 14 days. 

The court also ordered that the defendant's personal licence be suspended for 28 days and that he must surrender the licence to the court in 7 days. 

Joanne Waller, head of environment, health, and consumer protection, said: "Any business that supplies alcohol must have the necessary licence in place. The legislation is clear on the requirements of a premises to hold a valid licence and in this case the necessary advice was given. Alcohol licensing is aimed at promoting the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. Without a valid licence a premises cannot promote these objectives. 

"We hope that this prosecution serves as a reminder to all businesses to ensure they have the necessary licence in place before selling alcohol."

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