Pub manager banned from returning to work after lockdown lock-ins in Wolverhampton

The former supervisor of a pub that lost its licence after being caught serving alcohol during lockdown has lost his plea to return to work at the premises.

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

Soran Rostam, who ran The Pendulum in the Pendeford area of Wolverhampton, was on duty when police found customers inside and alcohol being drunk on several occasions, resulting in the licence being revoked in May 2020.

The Blaydon Road pub was later granted a licence to reopen on the proviso Mr Rostam had no involvement in the business.

Licensing bosses met this week to consider a licence variation application on behalf of the premises, which appealed for this condition to be removed.

However, after hearing from Mr Rostam’s solicitor Duncan Craig and listening to recommendations from West Midlands Police, the committee decided to refuse permission.

Mr Craig had earlier told members: “Mr Rostam accepts he was in the wrong and is genuinely sorry and remorseful for his actions. He lost his livelihood and should not be made to suffer for the rest of his life for what he did.”

Mr Rostam also expressed his regret to the committee, and said at the time of the incident he did not have a full 100 per cent understanding of the exact licensing regulations.

Sgt Steph Reynolds, on behalf of West Midlands Police, said: “After receiving calls, officers paid numerous visits to the pub and Mr Rostam was seen to turn the lights off and usher people out of the back of the premises.

“As police, we believe he was aware of what he was doing but disregarded it. We do not have any trust or confidence in Mr Rostam having any involvement in running this business.”

A previous hearing heard that police had already issued Mr Rostam with a Coronavirus Restrictions Prohibition Notice.

Aimee Taylor, licensing and regulatory officer for West Midlands Police, said: “This licence was only granted back based on the condition that Mr Rostam would have no involvement in the operation or management of the business. As a result, we would request permission be refused.”

Prior to the hearing, the committee had received a number of concerns, including a written objection from ward councillor Susan Roberts.

When the licence was revoked in 2020, the barrister acting on behalf of West Midlands Police, Mr Gary Grant, said that allowing Mr Rostam to continue as licensee would be “like leaving Ronnie Biggs in charge of Network Rail.”

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