Pub which broke lockdown rules can no longer serve alcohol

Two pubs which illegally opened to drinkers when lockdown was at its height have escaped further punishment.

But a third which hosted an illegal lock-in which ended with police raiding the premises with shields as they were pelted with bottles, can no longer serve alcohol.

Licensing bosses at Liverpool and Wirral councils have been considering the positions of The Orient in Speke, The Britannia in Vauxhall and The Railway Inn in Port Sunlight.

Officers visited The Orient on Eastern Avenue, in March, at the start of the lockdown, after it continued to serve customers.

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It was the first licensed premises found to be operating illegally during the new stay-at-home laws and was ordered to to cease trading or face the possibility of an unlimited fine.

Town Hall bosses have said The Orient can operate after no further action was deemed necessary with "no further evidence of any breach."

In May, the Railway Inn in Port Sunlight was issued with a prohibition notice after people were seen gathering outside and drinking inside.

CCTV evidence viewed by Merseyside Police that individuals were found to be consuming drinks on the premises.

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Wirral Council has now revealed no licensing review will take place.

The head of licensing said: "The purpose of the prohibition notice was to ensure compliance with the closure requirement and full compliance was met.

"In these individual circumstances the police did not consider it necessary to review the licence under The Licensing Act 2003 and subsequently there have been no further implications for the premises in respect of reopening."

At The Britannia, in Vauxhall, pub doors were kicked in by police in June as officers responded to reports of an illegal lock-in.

About 100 people were said to be inside after the Merseyside derby and could be heard playing loud music.

When police arrived at the scene, in the early hours of a Monday morning, drinkers barricaded themselves inside the pub and officers were attacked with bottles and had beer thrown at them.

Police had to force their way inside the pub to break up the illegal gathering before arrested eight people for violent disorder and drug offences.

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After the incident the landlord surrendered the licence.

It means the Britannia is no longer legally allowed to serve alcohol.

A Liverpool council spokesman added: "Any new application will be subject to notices and usual licensing process."

This weekend, police in Merseyside have urged people to follow public health guidelines if they chose to visit pubs, bars and restaurants.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Carden, said: "Last weekend was a real test for all of us in one way or another.

"The licensees were determined to make sure that they had put all the necessary provisions in place to enable people to relax and enjoy their visit in safety; the city council and Chamber of Commerce wanted to ensure they were providing adequate support and guidance to the licensed premises; and the emergency services were on hand if required.

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"Everyone pulled together to make the reopening a success without compromising the health of the public and it couldn't have been done without the overwhelming support and common sense of the majority of people who came in to the city last weekend to support our local businesses.

"This weekend and in the weeks to come our priority will remain the health and safety of the public and my plea to those coming in to the city is to enjoy the fantastic amenities that the city has to offer, but always remember it’s incredibly important that we continue to stick to social distancing rules going forward without becoming complacent."

Matt Ashton, director of public health at Liverpool city council, said: “Even though life feels like it’s starting to get back to normal, we know that the Covid-19 virus is still circulating in our communities.

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"It is vitally important whilst we are out and about that we all follow the guidelines on social distancing, avoid crowds, use face coverings when required, and stay home and get tested through NHS test and trace if we are not well.

"These simple steps will go a long way to keeping everybody safe and well and to avoid the need for a second lockdown.”

Andy Donaldson, managing director of Modo, Concert Square, said: “We are so pleased to have the opportunity to open our doors again, however we do so with caution, consideration and commitment to the health and safety of our team and customers. We have operated in Liverpool for almost 30 years and we passionately care about the people in this city.

"It’s important that people demonstrate the Liverpool spirit and values when they are out drinking. That means people looking out for each other, having consideration for our team and acting responsibly.

"Concert Square is at the heart of Liverpool’s nightlife and I really want us to show other cities how it’s done.

"We have played our part in making sure our premises are safe and equipped and our staff are fully trained. We need our customers to work with us and play their part too.

"Everyone can enjoy themselves at the same time as staying safe.

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"We are living in a new world and we need to remain vigilant.

"Only through social distancing, using hand sanitiser and drinking and acting responsibly will we be able to ensure the limited spread of the virus and avoid a second wave.”