Longs Bar was worst for underage drinking
8:00am Monday 21st October 2013 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
AN OLD Town bar stripped of its premises licence for serving underage drinkers was the worst offender in the county, according to one councillor.
Longs Bar, in Victoria Road, lost its licence at Swindon Council’s three-man licensing panel on Friday after repeated failures of test purchases by the police.
Arkell’s Brewery, which holds the licence, now has just under three weeks to appeal. The bar will remain open for business as usual in the meantime.
Police have sent in under-age test purchasers, some as young as 15, a number of times in recent years and Longs failed four times since October 2010, with three since October 2012.
Coun Junab Ali (Lab, Central), who sits on the licensing panel, said the decision made by him, Coun John Haines (Con, St Margaret & South Marston) and Coun Steve Wakefield (Lab, Mannington & Western) was unanimous.
“If you read the paperwork, you can see the number of offences. The police said they are the worst offender in Wiltshire,” said Coun Ali. “Look at the paperwork and the evidence from the police shows they have been given opportunities to change.
“They even had a closure in February because of this. The police have tried everything and needed to request the licence be revoked.
“We had to balance all that evidence up. It was unanimous. We can’t just say it was because of the police. We had to balance all the evidence and make our own decision.
“The evidence was overwhelming and we had to revoke both the premises licence and the DPS (designated premises supervisor).
“They know what they need to do: not let underage drinkers in. “They have failed four times and something is not right.”
Ben Lever, 21, a supervisor at Baker Street, in Wood Street, said: “We just ask for identification. We follow a Challenge 25 policy, which we have done ever since we opened, I think. “It’s just a couple of posters dotted around the place, but they seem to work.
“Most people tend to have their ID, so there aren’t too many issues. “There have been one or two cases, in my experience, where someone’s not had it on them, but come in the following week.”
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