Pub’s 4-week closure warning to licensees

Station Bar, Selkirk
Station Bar, Selkirk

A SENIOR police officer has said the temporary closure of a Selkirk pub sends a “clear message” on the responsibilities of premises and personal licence holders in the Borders.

Inspector John Scott, of the region’s Safer Communities Team, was commenting after Scottish Borders Licensing Board decided at a private hearing in Hawick on Friday to suspend the licence of the Station Bar, Selkirk, for four weeks with immediate effect. It will re-open on February 25.

The board also ordered that the personal licence of Paul Edwards, the pub’s designated premises manager (DPM), should be suspended for eight weeks, until March 25.

These are the first suspensions of licences ordered by the board comprising 10 elected member of Scottish Borders Council, since the Licensing (Scotland Act) 2005 was rolled out in the region in September, 2009.

On behalf of Lothian and Borders Chief Constable, Inspector Scott had sought a review of the pub’s premises licence. SBC released a statement on Tuesday giving a summary of the police case.

“The board heard that there had been several instances of street disturbances related to the premises, that the premises licence holder had been convicted of supplying drugs and failed to notify the board of that conviction and that there had been an instance of selling alcohol outwith the licensing hours as they had failed to apply for an extension for the Selkirk Common Riding,” said the statement.

Board chairman Councillor Gavin Logan added: “The board was very concerned about these breaches of the licensing objectives and took appropriate action.”

Inspector Scott said: “There is a clear message in respect of the management of licensed premises in the Scottish Borders that there are defined responsibilities for premises and personal licence holders and these must be complied with.

“The police will investigate any breaches of the terms and conditions to ensure compliance and work closely with licensees to allow them to operate within the terms and conditions of their individual premises operating plans.”

Mr Edwards, who was represented by solicitor Rory Bannerman at the hearing, said he would not appeal the board’s decisions.

“I made a personal and sincere apology to the board and, with hindsight, I realise I was naive in the extreme,” admitted Mr Edwards.

“Mr Bannerman made the point that the alleged disturbances were infrequent and of a minor nature and that I had mistakenly assumed that the board would be aware of the court conviction. I now appreciate it was my responsibility to notify them.

“Although I was not on the premises on the morning of Selkirk Common Riding, I also held my hands up to serving drink before 11am. It was wrong but, before the new licensing laws came, I understand it was not an uncommon practice.”

Friday’s decision meant the Station Bar’s Burns supper, due to have taken place on Sunday, was cancelled. Mr Edwards said he hoped it could be re-scheduled.