First prosecution under licensing laws

CELIA WIGG Breckland Council has won its first prosecution brought under the government's new licensing laws. Richard Ashbourne, proprietor of The Griffin Hotel in Attleborough, admitted to selling alcohol without a licence on November 29 - just days after the new Licensing Act came into force - when he appeared at Thetford Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

CELIA WIGG

Breckland Council has won its first prosecution brought under the government's new licensing laws.

Richard Ashbourne, proprietor of The Griffin Hotel in Attleborough, admitted to selling alcohol without a licence on November 29 - just days after the new Licensing Act came into force - when he appeared at Thetford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Magistrates fined Mr Ashbourne £600, reduced to £400 for his guilty plea, and awarded full costs of £600 to the council.

Nigel Burrows, principal environmental officer, said after the case: "Out of 108 pubs and clubs in the Breckland area, only four hadn't licensed before the November 24 deadline.

"We visited all four and only the Griffin was open and serving alcohol. We were left with no option but to prosecute in this instance."

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He added that Mr Ashbourne was an experienced licensee but, at the time of the offence, did not have a new premises licence or personal licence.

Both of these had subsequently been granted on December 12.

Mr Ashboune told the EDP: "This is just a technical offence and affected one day during the transitional period. It's something that's happened, it's gone and I don't want to comment further."