Skegness pub in the ‘last chance saloon’

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A POPULAR pub in the heart of Skegness is ‘drinking in the last chance saloon’ after serving underage drinkers.

The Marine Boathouse on Lumley Road sold alcoholic drinks to 15 and 16 year old volunteers on two occasions during an operation last year targeting venues suspected of serving minors.

Following the investigation carried out by Lincolnshire Police and Trading Standards, the pub has agreed to a 48 hour closure which will run from 5pm this Friday to 4.59pm on Sunday.

Failure to accept the closure notice would have resulted in the license holder facing trial for charges of persistently selling alcohol to those under 18.

A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police said: “Underage alcohol consumption is of great concern to police, partner agencies and the wider community as it is clear that it can lead to an increased risk of anti-social behaviour, public disorder and health problems amongst young people.

“Lincolnshire Police will work with premises to try and prevent further issues coming to light following any failures in relation sales to children as it is felt that this intervention gives a premises the opportunity to address the failures and prevent further mistakes occurring. However, our priority is the prevention of sales to young people and those premises that do not work with us will be dealt with robustly to send a strong signal to those premises that still do not have sufficient ‘due diligence’ in place.”

East Lindsey District Council will also carry out a review of the venue’s premises license on Wednesday, January 18, during which further sanctions may be imposed on the pub.

Only four premises reviews for underage sales have been carried out in the district since 2006 and one of those was also for the Marine Boathouse following a police investigation in 2008.

At that time the license holder committed the premises to a Challenge 21 Proof of Age scheme and banned under 18s from the main bar area after 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The venue’s repeated failure of underage test purchase operations could result in its license being revoked or suspended or the removal of the designated premises supervisor.

However the sanctions recommended in a report to ELDC’s Licensing Act Sub-Committee are less severe and focuses chiefly on staff training and changes to policies.

No one from the Marine Boathouse was available for comment however a response from the license holder in the report acknowledged the pub was ’drinking in the last chance saloon’ and claimed it had taken significant steps to address the problem, which demonstrated they ‘take their responsibilities seriously and are determined to ensure sales to persons under 18 do not take place.’