Licence chiefs give pub a ‘severe’ warning

Williams bar, Wharf Street, Sowerby Bridge.
Williams bar, Wharf Street, Sowerby Bridge.
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Licensing chiefs have given a Sowerby Bridge pub a “severe and stern warning” after a review brought by police.

Williams, on Wharf Street, was called before Calderdale Council’s licensing sub-committee last Thursday for an application by West Yorkshire Police to review its licence.

Councillors heard the pub failed a test purchase operation by West Yorkshire Trading Standards on August 25 when two underage volunteers were served alcohol by licensee Philip Baker’s son.

Andrew Garthwaite, for the police, said Mr Baker became “aggressive” when trading standards officers revealed themselves. He alleged Mr Baker assaulted a trading standards officer and a police officer - allegations Mr Baker has since been charged with and denies. He is due to stand trial in January. The committee heard CS gas was deployed by a police officer during the incident.

Mr Garthwaite said this, together with concerns over “not fit for purpose” staff training on under-age sales, brought the review.

Satpal Roth, for Mr Baker, said: “He accepts he used bad language however does not accept at all that there were assaults that evening.”

She said Mr Baker had disciplined his son and paid the fixed penalty fine. He also plans to bring in an external company to train staff about checking ID.

Councillors rejected the police’s request to suspend the pub’s licence for three months after hearing it would financially ruin the business.

Chairman Councillor Simon Young said: “Members do consider that a severe and stern warning be given to the licence holder in relation to failure of application of the age verification policy.” It recommended the use of the external company as well as further test purchase operations.