December 14, 2021 4.34 pm

Sleaford pub owner removed from licence after employing 15-year-old

New premises supervisor needed

The owner of a Sleaford pub has been taken off his venue’s licence after officers filed reports of a 15-year-old working behind the bar.

Clifford Hutson, who is the designated premises supervisor for and owns the Bull and Dog on Southgate, faced the North Kesteven District Council alcohol and entertainment licensing sub committee, after a number of alleged licence breaches at the pub.

Lincolnshire Police’s licensing officers visited the premises on a number of occasions in the last year to reports of drug taking, underage staff members and a sexual assault within the building.

Police said that the premises breached a number of licence conditions, and reported difficulties dealing with Mr Hutson and a former premises license holder, failure to supply CCTV footage when requested, staff having no knowledge of how the CCTV system worked, no incident book being available to be inspected, and the child encountered working at the premises.

They accused Mr Hutson of placing the blame for the failure of the premises on another and told the committee there needed to be a change in management.

Sgt Kim Enderby, Lincolnshire Police Licensing Officer, told the committee:  “He doesn’t appear to be doing his job.

“We are not saying the premises needs closing down, we’re not saying that this premises should be drastically altered in the way it operates.

“There needs to be change in management with a new DPS to be put in place who does know what he’s doing.”

They were told by Mr Hutson’s barrister John Brown that the pub had been operated without issue since 2007. He said there had previously been a drugs issue at the pub and that Mr Hutson had “done his best to clean up” the pub since he took it over.

“Regarding the girl in question, her mother actually worked in the pub as well, so when she was there, her mother was with her,” he said.

“My client was told initially she was 16 by the mother, she was not serving alcohol, she was dish-washing.”

“When the police came and spoke to him on September 15, he got rid of her straight away.

“She’s gone, he will not make that mistake again.”

He also denied Mr Hutson had previously had knowledge of some incidents, including an alleged sexual assault and that was why the incident book did not include them.

They were also told training was carried out on a regular basis and that door staff were properly qualified.

He also noted that the trainee manager at the time had also been fired and a new one employed.

However, the committee resolved to remove Mr Hutson as DPS from the premises licence

In reaching their decision they said: “Not withstanding the previously incident free history of the premises, of particular concern of subcommittee was the lack of evidence presented to demonstrate a current satisfactory level of understanding of the role and responsibilities of being a DPS that the subcommittee would expect.

They concluded: “In considering all that they’ve read and heard [the subcommittee] ultimately feel that the current premises licence conditions are reasonable and proportionate, and are capable of assisting in the running of a licensed premises in a manner consistent with the promotion of the licensing objectives, but in the hands of a competent DPS.”

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