News item

Barbarella’s owner prosecuted after underaged bar staff sold alcohol to kids

Mr Thomas Andrew Hall the owner/operator of the now defunct Barbarella’s nightclub/pub on Long Street Atherstone has been successfully prosecuted, fined and has had his personal license to sell alcohol suspended after an undercover operation found the premises to be persistently selling alcohol to children.

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service, Warwickshire Police and North Warwickshire Borough Council (Licensing Authority), together took action following local complaints.

In 2012 Trading Standards Officers and Police Officers made two separate visits to Barbarella’s to carry out undercover alcohol test purchase exercises using child volunteers. On both occasions, the child volunteers, operating under Home Office guidance, attempted to purchase two 300ml bottles of Budweiser lager and each time the volunteers, both aged 15 year old were sold alcohol.

At no stage were the undercover child volunteers asked to provide ID or challenged about their age and on both occasions the bar staff serving them were also aged under 18 (16 and 17). 

Both bar staff received £80 fixed penalty notices.

In January 2013 a license review was held in relation to Barbarella’s and the Licensing subcommittee, (having considered all the evidence and representations from Officers of the Licensing Authority and Officers representing Trading Standards and the Police), decided to revoke their Premises License to sell alcohol.

A prosecution followed and at Nuneaton Magistrates Court on 18th November 2013 Mr Thomas Andrew Hall was found guilty of two offences under the Licensing Act 2003. Mr Hall did not attend court and the case was found in his absence. The case was adjourned to Monday 2nd December to give Mr Hall an opportunity to attend to make representations as to why his personal license should not be suspended or revoked.

He failed to do so but in his absence he was ordered to pay a total of £4541 in fines and costs. The Court also indicated that they would exercise their powers under Section 129 of the Licensing Act 2003 to suspend Mr Hall’s personal licence for a period of 6 months. This means that for six months, Mr Hall is unable to be the licensee in any pub or bar.

Mr Hall was fined £200 for allowing an underaged person to sell alcohol and £1000 for persistently selling alcohol to underage persons. The court also imposed a £120 victim surcharge and granted the Prosecution’s full costs of £3221.04.

Warwickshire County Councilor Les Caborn, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, commenting after the prosecution said: 

“I am delighted that working together with our colleagues from the Police and Borough Council we were able to take decisive steps that not only led to the defendant being fined but also losing both the premises alcohol licence and his personal licence.”

This action sends out a strong warning to sellers of alcohol that if they do not take their responsibilities seriously and take steps to prevent the sale of alcohol to children, they could find themselves shut down!”

Warwickshire Police Sergeant Roger Fildes, Safer Neighbourhoods Sergeant for North Warwickshire added:

“This is a great example of partnership working to deal directly with local community issues.”

“This premise was brought to our attention by the local community and as a direct result of our action its alcohol licence was revoked.”   

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

1) Lara Macnab represented Warwickshire County Council

2) Mr Hall was not represented

For more information, please contact Simon Cripwell, Trading Standards Officer on 01926 414039 or 07771 975570

DATE: 6 December 2013