Clubs warned on drinks sales

The Brunswick Working Men's Club
The Brunswick Working Men's Club
Have your say

PRIVATE clubs which flout the conditions of their licence by serving booze to non-members are being targeted by town hall chiefs.

One venue has already been prosecuted by Blackpool Council with bosses today warning others are to follow.

Only members and their signed-in guests should be able to drink in private clubs but raids by council officers have revealed this rule is being broken.

All eight clubs visited by officers earlier this year failed a test purchase.

Despite advice being handed out to each of the premises, all but one venue failed again when test purchases were repeated a few weeks later.

The first club to admit breaching its licence was the Brunswick Working Men’s Club on Bethesda Grove.

Secretary William Hill, 67, of St Andrew’s Avenue, Cleveleys, admitted the offence.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs by Blackpool magistrates.

Lee Petrak prosecuting for the council, said test purchasers went into the club unchallenged and bought drinks in April and June this year.

In between the raids, the council had met with club officials to discuss the issue.

Hill told the court: “We have tightened up - there are clear notices telling people they must be members or must be signed in as guests. We have given the staff extra training.

“But we are a place which is just keeping our head above water. We can’t afford a doorman on £80 a day. We haven’t been in trouble before and this won’t happen again.”

Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council cabinet member with responsibility for trading standards, told The Gazette: “We have been working closely with clubs to make sure that they stick to the terms of their licence agreement regarding serving alcohol to non-members.

“After a round of test purchasing, we found a number of premises failed, so advised and encouraged them to improve regulation to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“The Brunswick Working Men’s Club however did not take our advice, failed the test purchasing, and as a result has been being subject to prosecution. This case serves as a reminder to all private members’ clubs that they must stick to the agreements in their licence.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.