Dudley pubs’ £2k court bill for showing matches

Two pub bosses have each been hit with a court bill of more than £2,000 for showing football matches without the correct licences.

It is envisaged that Dudley would no longer be just a criminal court, instead becoming a civil, family and tribunal centre
The court at Dudley

The Prince Albert Inn in Wall Heath and the Rose and Crown in Brierley Hill were caught when investigators from Sky visited the pubs.

They found the pubs were showing Premiership matches on Sky Sports TV without the correct non-domestic licences.

Melvyn Edwards, licensee and supervisor of the Prince Albert Inn and Mark Pritchard, a supervisor at the Rose and Crown, were both fined and ordered to pay court costs. Neither appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court, but instead responded via post to the charges put before them.

Edwards, based at the pub in the High Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly receiving a programme with intent to avoid payment on October 19 and November 2 last year.

While Pritchard based at the pub in Bank Street pleaded guilty to three counts of the same offence on September 16, October 29 and November 2 last year.

Mr Alan Richards, prosecuting on behalf of Sky, told the court on Thursday: “Investigators visited the pubs and saw that matches were being watched on TV without the correct non-domestic licence. The pubs where then contacted.”

He said during the investigation Edwards was advised by Sky about showing matches at the pub, while Pritchard agreed with Sky to stop showing matches. But when investigators revisited both pubs they found matches were still being shown. An investigator went into the Rose and Crown and found around 30 people watching a match between Arsenal and Chelsea. At the Prince Albert Inn 25 drinkers were treated to a match between West Ham and Manchester United.

He said in the case of the Rose and Crown a non-domestic licence would have cost Pritchard £1,108 each month, while at the Prince Albert the licence to watch matches would have been £1,780 a month.

District Judge Michael Wheeler said Edwards would receive a fine of £410 for each offence totalling £820 and court costs of £1,200 as well as a victim surcharge of £82. Pritchard was ordered to pay £185 for each offence totalling £555 and court costs of £1,428.28 and a victim surcharge of £56.