Licence review for pub caught serving customers during coronavirus lockdown

A pub that police found to be open and serving alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown is set to have its premises licence reviewed.

The Pendulum pub in Blaydon Road, Pendeford. Photo: Google Street View
The Pendulum pub in Blaydon Road, Pendeford. Photo: Google Street View

The Pendulum in Blaydon Road, Pendeford, Wolverhampton, had its licence suspended last month after officers found evidence of people inside the premises and alcohol being consumed.

Police received an anonymous call on March 28 informing them that the pub had been open the day before, with the lights and TV on and seven to 10 people drinking inside.

After further investigations, police subsequently issued the pub’s designated premises supervisor (DPS) Soran Rostam, who is also the licence holder, with a Coronavirus Restrictions Prohibition Notice.

During a routine patrol on April 6, police driving past the premises saw what they believed to be a TV on in the bar and three people inside.

After entering the pub officers questioned Mr Rostam, who initially claimed that no-one had been inside drinking and then said it was a cleaner and a friend whom he had let out the back door.

Police returned to the pub later in the month and obtained CCTV footage for April 6, which showed Mr Rostam behind the bar serving alcohol to a man and woman and putting money in the till.

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When officers knock on the window both customers were seen leaving through the back door without their drinks.

In a letter to Wolverhampton Council’s licensing bosses, one concerned resident said: “I’m aware that the Pendulum pub in Pendeford has been having lock-ins during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Music has been playing loudly inside the building on several nights since lockdown, but I naturally assumed it was the tenants given the current situation.

“I have made numerous complaints about the noise nuisance over the years but have literally given up because no-one seemed to be able to do anything. I can’t sleep with my windows open due to the noise.

“Even with the windows closed it is sometimes impossible to sleep. I work long hours so this is very stressful. Loud booming music is the norm which frequently goes on until the early hours.

“Customers are allowed to buy multiple drinks before the doors are shut and then sit outside until all hours drinking alcohol whilst shouting, laughing and sometimes fighting,” added the letter.

“This pub demonstrates a complete disregard for rules and regulations and certainly does not respect local residents who live on its doorstep.”

In further written correspondence, Superintendent Simon Inglis of West Midlands Police said: “This incident involves the public house opening to the public for consumption of drinks whilst on the premises in contravention of the Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations 2020.

“Then after having had warnings from both police and Environmental Health, issued with a Prohibition Notice, further calls to the police about activity at the Pendulum were received.

“The concern of West Midlands Police is that if steps are not taken to consider the running of these premises they will continue to be used in the manner they were found on April 6 and that could result in serious harm to the public.”

A letter to the council from Gosschalks Solicitors, acting on behalf of Ei Group Ltd which owns the Pendulum, said: “Mr Rostam accepts that he made a mistake and misled the authorities when questioned about this.

"He regrets this and he is now fearful that the licence will be revoked and he will lose his livelihood.

“Our representation is that the revocation of the premises licence would not be a proportionate response to the single mistake of which there is clear evidence.

“Instead, a proportionate response may be to remove Mr Rostam as DPS and/or impose a period of suspension, the effect of which would leave the premises closed for a period once others are permitted to open after the lockdown is lifted.”

Wolverhampton Council’s statutory licensing sub-committee is due to discuss the matter in an online meeting next Wednesday, May 20.

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