Date issued: 23 December 2020
Two pubs have each been issued with a Notice and ordered to close after flouting Covid restrictions.
Police, Colchester Borough Council officers and Covid marshals were out in force at Town Centre and rural locations, on Saturday, during one of their regular Nights of Action to make sure people were safe and to look out for anyone intent on committing crime.
During the evening, police were called with reports of a private party being held at the Leather Bottle pub in Shrub End Road, Colchester.
Officers found around 25 people from multiple households mixing inside the pub, in breach of the rules. Around 15 were gathered in a side room playing pool, while a large group of partygoers had moved several tables together to enjoy a buffet in the bar area. Police issued a fixed penalty notice (FPN) with a £10,000 fine to the licensee. During a visit on Monday, Licensing officers issued a Notice and ordered the pub to close until it is Covid safe. The pub will remain shut until it complies with the first Notice and the council is sure that it is Covid safe, or they risk a further Notice and fine.
The Anchor, in Station Road, Tiptree, was served with a Notice after police were contacted on Sunday (20 December) with reports a group of people were inside the pub beyond the 11pm closing time and were not having a substantial meal. Officers found it holding a lock-in for 30 people and spoke to the licensee. During a follow-up visit, on Monday, Licensing officers saw meals being served in a closed-side marquee – not defined as outdoor seating – and subsequently ordered the pub to close.
Councillor Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “Once again, despite our best efforts to communicate the guidelines, a minority of premises appear to think the rules do not apply to them and have failed to implement the necessary measures to protect people’s safety.
“It is important that landlords understand that we will take action against them if we find they operate in breach of the rules.
“They face the potential of an unlimited fine, if they fail to comply with the Notice, as well as the possibility that we will review their licence.
“The public will be reassured to know that we will continue to work in partnership with other authorities to monitor premises, respond to reports of any potential breaches and take the necessary action against those who flout the rules.”
Chief Inspector Jonathan Evans added: “The vast majority of people are doing the right thing and following the government’s regulations, so together we can fight the virus that has affected all of our lives this year.
“So many local businesses have made sacrifices to keep their customers safe and have worked really hard to adjust how they work.
“The actions of a small minority, who are not doing the same, is unfair on the local community.
“Essex Police will continue to use the same common sense approach to the regulations that we’ve had throughout the pandemic: we’ll engage with people, explain the regulations, and encourage them to do the right thing.
“We will also continue to respond to those who are committing clear and blatant breaches.
“If everyone does this, we can not only beat the virus, but it also means our police officers can focus on helping people, keeping them safe, and catching criminals.”