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Micropub News

January 8, 2021

Wainscott micropub has licence revoked for ignoring Covid-19 rules

A micropub has lost its licence after it held illegal lock-ins during lockdown.

The Hop and Rye, Wainscott Road, Wainscott, near Strood, Kent, allowed people to drink inside the premises on at least five separate occasions in November.

Licensing officers found six people drinking at the rear of the business during a visit on November 28 and requested they leave.

Following further inquiries, the pub was found to have held at least five lock-ins since November 5.

A hearing was held at Medway Council on December 22 where it was agreed by a licensing panel its licence would be revoked, meaning it must permanently close.

Inspector Mat Burbeck, of Medway's Community Safety Unit, said: "When these breaches occurred pubs were not permitted to sell alcohol or food on the premises due to Covid-19, but the owner and designated premises supervisor allowed this to happen, which was a clear breach of the restrictions which were in place.

"The regulations are there to protect not only individuals but also the wider community in helping to stop the spread of the virus and this includes prohibiting the mixing of multiple households and large gatherings.

"As a result of ignoring this legislation the pub has now lost its licence and will not be able to open when the current national lockdown and tiered restrictions end.

"I hope this outcome sends a clear and important message to other businesses who may be ignoring the current legislation.

"We will continue to engage and educate residents and businesses and encourage them to adhere to the guidelines and will ultimately enforce the regulations if we need to."

At the time of the offences, co-owner Mark Greenfield was out of the country caring for his dad.

He says Ian Wilson, the other co-owner, had invited five of his friends to the pub on each occasion.

Mr Greenfield said: "What he did was wrong. I can't say it wasn't, but you've got to put it in perspective.

"For the police to take it as far as they did is ridiculous really.

"The council claimed the pub hosting five people at a time could have contributed to the number of Covid cases in Medway, or even possibly fatalities in Medway. I think it was just a bit over the top.

"They absolutely blew it out of proportion, and I am appealing against the decision.

"It wasn't a free for all, the pub wasn't open to everyone, it was six people, who all live alone.

"It's a farce. We've been made scapegoats."

The premises licence holder at the time was manager Michael Knight.

Mr Greenfield, as well as intending to appeal the decision, hopes to become the new licence holder.

"They absolutely blew it out of proportion, and I am appealing against the decision"
Mark Greenfield, co-owner, The Hop and Rye
Article reproduced with thanks to KentOnline/Kent Media Group
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