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Spot checks catch rogue smokers

PUBLISHED: 09:27 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:55 01 August 2010

A FIFTH of pubs were found to be in breach of smoke-free legislation during a four-day blitz in the Waveney area.

The clampdown by Waveney District Council's licensing team and Suffolk Police saw 122 pubs, clubs, hotels and other alcohol-licensed premises visited to assess compliance with relevant legislation.

A FIFTH of pubs were found to be in breach of smoke-free legislation during a four-day blitz in the Waveney area.

The clampdown by Waveney District Council's licensing team and Suffolk Police saw 122 pubs, clubs, hotels and other alcohol-licensed premises visited to assess compliance with relevant legislation.

During the campaign more than 90pc of establishments open in Waveney on a Friday and Saturday were assessed, including all but a handful of the pubs.

But while there were a number of examples of excellent practice, the inspectors also discovered breaches.

They found around 40pc of premises with technical offences regarding licences, 25pc with breaches relating to designated premises supervisors, the person responsible for the operation of the premises and the contact for any concerns, 20pc breached smoke-free requirements and five were permitting smoking in prohibited areas.

Police focused on underage and excess alcohol sales at premises with officers giving advice to licensees, and this will be followed up via further checks, including test purchase operations with trading standards, at a later date.

The council said the campaign would result in a number of advisory and warning letters being issued to licensees and that one establishment was temporarily closed due to significant breaches.

There are also likely to be two prosecutions as a result of the inspections. At least two premises gave rise to concern regarding significant noise nuisance, which officers will continue to monitor.

Ken Sale, Waveney District Council portfolio holder for the environment said: “These inspections, carried out at a time when they were perhaps least expected, send out a clear message that licensing conditions must be observed and that both the council as licensing authority and the police, are prepared to work together to monitor levels of compliance, even on the busiest nights of the week.

“A licence is only granted on the understanding that that the applicant will abide by its conditions. We will not tolerate breaches, or indeed any activity likely to compromise the four licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder, ensuring public safety, preventing public nuisance and the protection children from harm. Officers will take formal action where appropriate to deal with persistent or serious offenders.”

Inspector Nick Aitken from Suffolk Police said the campaign had been beneficial: “As a result, officers have more confidence around licensing legislation. We have adopted a friendly approach to licensees and continue to work to build our partnership with them through the ongoing Nightsafe initiative.”

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