Pub stripped of its licence after customers found drinking inside during lockdown

A popular pub has been stripped of its ability to sell booze after opening during lockdown.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:14 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th July 2021, 12:46 pm
The Porky Pint, in Mill Lane, Billingham.

The Porky Pint, in Mill Lane, Billingham has seen its licence revoked by Stockton Borough Council after a visit by police and council teams in January found customers drinking inside.

A licensing hearing heard how landlord Paul Henderson had taken his stance in protest at covid regulations and the “devastation” he believed they had wreaked upon his industry and society.

Yet the committee found the breaches at the Mill Lane pub “extremely serious” given the lives lost in the pandemic.

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The Porky Pint had informed the authorities of its intention to open ahead of January 30.

The landlord was subsequently handed a £1,000 fixed penalty notice for the breach, which the hearing learned was still outstanding.

Philip Kolvin, on behalf of Mr Henderson, said it was a “very unusual” case where a “responsible, professional and highly qualified” man had taken a deliberate decision to disobey a law.

He argued Mr Henderson had clocked no incidents of disorder or under-age sales and held a five-star food hygiene rating.

However, barrister James Kemp, for Cleveland Police and the council, told the committee it was not for people and licence holders to “pick and choose which bits they like and which bits they don’t” from the rules.

More than 40 residents wrote to the council to offer their backing to the pub.

But the committee’s decision report concluded: “The committee’s view was Mr Henderson had not given any thought to the community when he had acted in the manner which he did.”

Mr Henderson is considering whether to appeal or not.