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Wainscott pub has licence revoked for ignoring Covid-19 rules


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A micropub has lost its licence after it held illegal lock-ins during lockdown.

The Hop and Rye, Wainscott Road, Wainscott, near Strood, allowed people to drink inside the premises on at least five separate occasions in November.

The pub held five illegal lock-ins during November. Picture: Sean Aidan
The pub held five illegal lock-ins during November. Picture: Sean Aidan

Licensing officers found six people drinking at the rear of the business during a visit on November 27 and requested they leave.

Following further inquiries, the pub was found to have held at least five lock-ins since November 5.

A hearing was held at Medway Council on December 22 where it was agreed by a licensing panel its licence would be revoked, meaning it must permanently close.

Inspector Mat Burbeck, of Medway's Community Safety Unit, said: "When these breaches occurred pubs were not permitted to sell alcohol or food on the premises due to Covid-19, but the owner and designated premises supervisor allowed this to happen, which was a clear breach of the restrictions which were in place.

Owners Ian Wilson and Mark Greenfield, pictured before the pub opened in 2019. Picture: Sean Aidan
Owners Ian Wilson and Mark Greenfield, pictured before the pub opened in 2019. Picture: Sean Aidan

"The regulations are there to protect not only individuals but also the wider community in helping to stop the spread of the virus and this includes prohibiting the mixing of multiple households and large gatherings.

"As a result of ignoring this legislation the pub has now lost its licence and will not be able to open when the current national lockdown and tiered restrictions end.

"I hope this outcome sends a clear and important message to other businesses who may be ignoring the current legislation.

"We will continue to engage and educate residents and businesses and encourage them to adhere to the guidelines and will ultimately enforce the regulations if we need to."

At the time of the offences, co-owner Mark Greenfield was out of the country caring for his dad.

The Medway licensing panel met at Gun Wharf before Christmas
The Medway licensing panel met at Gun Wharf before Christmas

He says Ian Wilson, the other co-owner, had invited five of his friends to the pub on each occasion.

Mr Greenfield said: "My wife and I left the country on October 9 to spend time with my father in France who was currently undergoing radiotherapy, and we returned on the November 28.

"We were informed of what had happened on that date after just getting off the boat in Portsmouth by PC Dan Hunt and PC Chris Hill. Of which I was shocked and appalled.

"What he did was wrong. I can't say it wasn't, but you've got to put it in perspective.

"For the police to take it as far as they did is ridiculous really.

"We've been made scapegoats."

"The council claimed the pub hosting five people at a time could have contributed to the number of Covid cases in Medway, or even possibly fatalities in Medway. I think it was just a bit over the top.

"They absolutely blew it out of proportion and I am appealing against the decision.

"It wasn't a free for all, the pub wasn't open to everyone, it was six people, who all live alone.

"It's a farce. We've been made scapegoats."

The premises licence holder at the time was manager Michael Knight.

Mr Greenfield intends to appeal the decision.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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