Fines dished out as 'illegal gathering' broken up at Black Country pub

A Black Country pub could have its licence reviewed after allegedly hosting a gathering during the latest coronavirus lockdown.

The Duke of York pub in Chuckery, Walsall
The Duke of York pub in Chuckery, Walsall

Walsall Council has launched an inquiry into the Duke of York in Lumley Road, Chuckery, after police handed out £3,000 worth of fines to seven people found inside the venue on Monday.

People inside the pub told officers they were all family and part of the same bubble, but this explanation was not accepted by the police.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed two people were given £1,000 fixed penalty notices each while a further five were hit with £200 fines apiece – all for a breach of coronavirus rules.

After being given evidence from the police, Walsall Council regulatory services officers put a prohibition notice on licence holder Verinder Singh, under the Covid regulations brought in last year.

This specifically prevents the Duke of York from opening for the sale and consumption of food and drink inside the premises.

A breach of this could result in legal proceedings being launched.

A Walsall Council spokeswoman said a full investigation is underway and discussions will be held with police on how the case will be progressed. A review of the licence hasn’t been ruled out.

While she said the authority was unable to comment further, due to the investigation, Councillor Garry Perry, deputy leader for resilient communities, warned they will take action on anyone breaking the law.

He said: “It is distressing that despite the huge rise in Covid infections locally, regionally and nationally and the resulting deaths sadly caused by this relentless virus, that a few business owners and residents still feel it is acceptable to break the legislation.

“The council, in partnership with the police are working hard to ensure that intelligence is shared, allowing appropriate joint enforcement to be carried out.

“This action is deemed necessary to protect the rest of the borough and public in general.

“Most businesses are compliant with the regulations and should be applauded and protected from those businesses who seek to gain advantage over them by acting in a criminal manner, endangering the health and safety of our residents.

“For those businesses that aren’t compliant, the council will of course refer to licensing committee for review.

“This is especially important given the massive challenges we are facing on a daily basis in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and where not following the regulations can mean the difference between life and death.”

The Express & Star has been unable to reach the pub for comment.

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