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In the days of the old licensing laws, the “lock-in” where a pub continued serving after hours to a group of favoured customers was commonplace, and was often carried out with the full knowledge of the local police, if they were confident no trouble would result.
With the liberalisation of licensing hours, that probably happens much less often now but, following the 2007 smoking ban, it has been replaced by the “smoke-in”, where the doors are shut and the ashtrays come out. Various comments over the past five years have suggested this is very widespread.
But, apparently, Bolton Council see it as a priority to clamp down on such outrages.
Lesley O’Reilly, who is landlady of the Gilnow Arms in Deane, has been fined £500 and ordered to pay a further £510 in costs and surcharge after pleading guilty to failing to prevent smoking inside the pub.
Speaking after she was sentenced at Bolton Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Ms Reilly said: “I really think they have killed the trade with this law.
“Why can’t we give smokers a room inside where they can go instead of them having to stand outside.” The court was told the pub was visited at 1.25am on May 13 by council enforcement officers and police as part of a routine inspection.
The front door was closed and curtains shut, but the officers were allowed inside after knocking on the door and they smelled smoke.
Rebecca Kirk, prosecuting on behalf of Bolton Council, said one man was stood at the bar smoking a cigarette with an ashtray at his side and Ms O’Reilly was sitting with a woman who was smoking a hand -rolled cigarette.
Altogether there were four ashtrays out in the pub, containing a total of 18 cigarette butts.
Whatever happened to the old policy of turning a blind eye? £27.78 per butt – that is beyond harsh.
One of the comments on the article is very telling:
The smoking ban HAS killed the pub trade..fact! All the people who said they hated smoke filled pubs never went in in the first place, and they certainly don't go in now.
And what are the council doing organising a posse of officers and police at that time in the morning just to find 18 cigarette stubs and somebody smoking a cig and somebody smoking a roll up. Pathetic!
There are far worse things going on in 'the suburbs' going on...ah but council officers won't go there.
In an era of cutbacks and austerity, it is beyond belief that Bolton Council thought it worthwhile to spend council tax payers’ money on such a vindictive crusade. And I hope the scumbag who grassed the pub up feels thoroughly pleased with his efforts.