Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

Pub loses licence after drinkers found hiding in cupboards during lockdown raid

This is the moment police catch punters hiding in a wardrobe inside a pub which was supposed to be shut under lockdown rules.

The Pitsmoor Hotel in Sheffield was raided by police on April 24 following reports it was still serving people in secret. Video footage shows officers opening the cupboard, beckoning the people to come out and finding a man standing behind another door.

Landlord Paul Greasby was issued a prohibition notice for the pub and the Staffordshire Arms, which he also runs, for continuing to sell alcohol. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced pubs would be able to open their doors again from July 4 in England under the biggest easing of lockdown since the pandemic began.

Punters during both raids appeared ‘intoxicated’ as they left and some were caught standing on the roof when officers arrived. At a council licensing committee on Tuesday, the Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership criticised management for a ‘repeated disregard’ for public health after CCTV footage showed a newborn baby in one of the pubs.

In its application to strip Mr Greasby of his license, South Yorkshire Police said he showed a ‘persistent and deliberate disregard for the regulations, public health and licensing objectives’ by operating his pubs during the peak of the UK’s outbreak.

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The force added: ‘Customers were unlikely to have a reasonable excuse for being in the pub, putting them in breach. By remaining open Mr Greasby is likely to have encouraged these breaches.’


An audio recording the landlord’s ex-girlfriend can be heard saying: ‘Do you not think you’re doing something wrong, Paul?’, reports the Sheffield Star. He replies: ‘No, because I know it’s a load of s***. It’s a load of f***ing b******s.’

He later said he does not stand by those remarks but South Yorkshire Police’s barrister James Holding said it encapsulated his attitude to the lockdown.

Mr Grasby denied serving alcohol during lockdown but apologised for ‘any trouble caused’ in his closing comments.

At Tuesday’s meeting Director for public health Greg Fell ‘It’s impossible for me to overstate the seriousness of the situation. This is the most serious public health crisis that I ever hope to have to manage, probably the most serious crisis since the 1918 flu pandemic and it may well surpass that yet.

‘At that time, in early April, we were close to the peak of the pandemic – this was a major deal. The virus was significantly more prevalent than it is now. Whilst the law has been a pain, it matters and it matters for a reason: it was there to save lives.’

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