Covid: Southampton pub stripped of licence after party

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image captionA large party was split up at the Bitterne Park Hotel on Christmas Eve

A pub has had its licence revoked after it hosted a party in breach of coronavirus rules on Christmas Eve.

Police officers broke up a party of up to 40 people who had been drinking at The Bitterne Park Hotel, in Cobden Avenue, Southampton.

PC Mark Hawley said the hotel was fined £1,000 for the event which put "lives at risk in blind pursuit of monetary gain".

The owner and licensee holder Gurvinder Singh apologised for the incident.

At a meeting where Southampton City Councillors decided to strip the premises of its licence, Mr Singh, who operates the hotel with his two brothers, said: "I cannot blame anyone but myself. I hold my hands up."

'Awash with glasses'

Mr Singh said he showed a "complete lack of leadership" and told councillors he was "well aware" there was going to be a party of "20 people" at the pub.

Police said at the time of the party, Southampton was under tier two Covid restrictions which meant alcohol could only be served in licensed premises as part of a "substantial meal".

In a report, Hampshire Constabulary said officers were called by a member of the public and arrived to find more than 30 people at an "unlawful pre-arranged party" being run by "drunken customers" at about 19:10 GMT on 24 December.

Officers said there was "zero evidence of food having been or being served" and "each table in turn was awash with empty glasses".

PC Hawley told councillors police were later made aware of a similar incident at the hotel five days prior to the Christmas Eve party.

He said: "We are here today because the law was broken. The whole country is in this together... yet here we are with a business placing the lives of an untold amount of people at risk."

Confirming the decision, chair of the committee councillor Cathie McEwing, said: "It is evident Mr Singh failed to recognise the seriousness of the threat to public health that Covid-19 represents. He failed in his duty and responsibility."

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