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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Carlisle pub landlord stripped of licence after claims he was drunk

The landlord of The Club in Victoria Place, Carlisle, has been stripped of his premises supervisor’s licence after police claimed he had been drunk and obstructive.

Martin Bell photo
Martin Bell

Related:  Police want Carlisle club landlord kicked out

Martin Bell is considering whether to appeal following the decision yesterday by a city council licensing sub-committee.

Sgt Richard Higgin, of Cumbria police, told councillors that Mr Bell had a “cavalier attitude” towards drunkenness, disorder and under-age alcohol sales.

He said: “If it were in a more central location, the club would have had its licence reviewed many years ago.

“Mr Bell has been given a number of warnings but chose to ignore these. In our opinion, he is unfit to continue as designated premises supervisor.”

Sgt Higgin cited four instances where police were called between December 2010 and February 2012.

On two occasions, Mr Bell appeared to be under the influence of drink or drugs.

In one case he was “uncooperative and offensive towards officers” while in another incident, where glasses were being thrown, he closed the door to stop police getting in.

Most recently, a 16-year-old was arrested for being drunk and disorderly while a 17-year-old was serving, unsupervised, behind the bar.

Solicitor James Johnston, acting for Mr Bell, said: “These were, in the grand scale of things, relatively isolated incidents.

“The club has been trading five years and these are the only events to have occurred. No designated premises supervisor can prevent an incident breaking out. What they can do is deal with it quickly, efficiently and safely.”

Mr Johnston challenged the police’s evidence.

When officers thought Mr Bell was under the influence of drugs, the solicitor said, he was actually “full of adrenalin” after evicting troublemakers. He did not “do drugs”.

Mr Johnston denied that Mr Bell had tried to prevent police entering.

He was unavoidably blocking the door while evicting someone when officers arrived.

Mr Bell said he consumed alcohol only when customers bought him a drink. He had now stopped altogether.

He said: “I hold my hands up. I’m guilty of letting that go too far. One pint becomes two pints maybe three. It’s the trade I’m in to be fair.”

He added: “We’ve never had a punch thrown apart from one incident when a boy was hit in the face by a pool ball.”

Councillors were unimpressed. The committee’s chairman, councillor David Morton, said the decision to revoke Mr Bell’s licence was unanimous.

He said: “The premises pose a risk to the public and children in particular.”

It is not clear at this stage whether Mr Bell will appeal.

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