Wisbech pub hit with temporary closure notice after twice being caught selling alcohol to under-18s

Horsefair Tavern Wisbech.

Horsefair Tavern Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

POLICE have moved to temporarily close a Wisbech pub which has twice been caught serving alcohol to underage volunteers.

The Horsefair Tavern, in Hill Street, was one of six town pubs to be issued with an £80 fine after selling youngsters booze in November’s spot-checks.

But they were caught by a second test operation last month, prompting police to issue a closure notice for a period of 96 hours. The pub has accepted the notice and will not be able to sell alcohol from 8am on February 21 until 8am on February 25.

Another pub, which police have not named, failed the test operation for a second time. It has chosen to contest one of the penalty notices in court.

Sgt Dave Bax, licensing officer for Fenland, praised the owners of the Horsefair Tavern for “working closely with police to bring in measures to ensure that processes are tighter”.

He said: “Test purchasing is a necessary evil and my team will continue to use this tactic to protect children and reduce crime and disorder associated with young people consuming alcohol.

“Police noticed in late 2011 and throughout 2012 that a number of young people in a number of Fenland towns had become involved in disorder and were in drink.

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“They stated that they had been served in local pubs, and during some visits to pubs, young people have been found intoxicated.

“The Licensing Act 2003 has an objective of protecting children from harm, and it is therefore our duty to do this. A number of shops in Wisbech have also been visited in January, and they all passed the test asking volunteers for identification.

“If you are a licensee in Fenland, get signed up to Challenge 25, ensure staff are trained and records of training and refusals are kept. The chances are you will receive a test in the near future.”

One newly-tested pub also failed last month’s spot-check.

Sgt Bax added that Elgood’s Brewery had sent all of its staff involved in selling alcohol on a licensing tuition course. He said all Elgood’s pubs had passed the test purchase and so had The Case.