New rules for town pub after man’s river death

General view of the Red Lion pub on High Street March
General view of the Red Lion pub on High Street March
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STAFF at a March pub are to undergo additional training on refusing to serve alcohol to drunks and underage drinkers following a review by Fenland’s licensing panel.

Bar tenders at the Red Lion will be trained in the Challenge 25 scheme and the prevention of selling to drunks as part of new licensing conditions as a result of the review called by police licensing Sgt Dave Bax.

Sgt Bax applied for the review following the death of March man Simon Peters, whose body was found in the River Nene the morning after he had been served alcohol in the Red Lion, despite being obviously intoxicated when he went in.

The licensing panel at Fenland Hall on Monday heard Mr Peters was captured on CCTV staggering and unsteady on his feet being bought a pint by a friend in the pub.

He was later seen in the rear yard unsteady on his feet as he left to walk home, but he never made it and his body was found the next day. A post mortem showed he had an alcohol level of 275mg - more than three times the drink drive limit.

Staff on duty on December 16 were interviewed by police in relation to knowingly selling alcohol to a drunk person and neither had received training.

Landlord Tom Mcnamara was also interviewed and he then revealed he had left the management of the High Street pub to his wife Jenny after suffering a stroke. He had not informed the licensing authority of his illness. Neither of the Mcnamara’s were on duty on the night of December 16.

A 200-page dossier was presented at Monday’s morning-long hearing which outlined a number of other issues with the pub including unsubstantiated evidence of drug-dealing on the premises as well as various incidents of violence.

There were also statements from a 15-year-old girl who had been served alcohol in the pub without being challenged about her age.

Licensing PC Chris Wheeler said police were not looking to revoke the licence, but were calling for improved conditions to ensure future compliance.

Quentin Miller, speaking on behalf of Mr Mcnamara, said the landlords together with represents from Elgood’s brewery and the police had attended a mediation meeting where new conditions had been agreed.

He said progress had already been made in trying to meet those conditions and there were no objections to there imposition.

The licensing panel, chaired by Cllr Kay Mayor, outlined its decision, which included revoking some existing conditions considered unenforceable because they were too subjective as well as adding the new ones.

New conditions included: CCTV must be in operation on the premises to capture facial images of patrons entering the pub by the main High Street entrance as well as cameras covering the seating and bar areas.

CCTV images must be kept for 31 days and be produced to police on request.

Staff will be trained to use the CCTV system and how to provide copies of tapes.

All staff will have to undergo training on the Challenge 25 scheme and the prevention of selling to drunk persons, records must be kept of training given, and records must also be kept on refusals to serve and other incidents.

The DPS (Designated Premises Superviser) or Personal Licence Holder must be on duty from 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights and must also regularly attend Pubwatch meetings.

The panel also recommended the removal within 28 days of Mr Mcnamara as the DPS - but he and his wife will remain as landlords.