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Management at Roebuck in Leek have stated they will be cracking down on checking for underage drinkers

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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Management at a Leek pub which could be facing temporary closure after being caught twice selling booze to underage people have stated "every step" is being taken to ensure it does not happen again.

Staffordshire Police last week stated that officers are considering enforcing a Police Closure Notice on The Roebuck Hotel, Leek, pictured, following a series of undercover checks by the force's Licensing Unit.

The unit has, over the last month, carried out a number of checks at pubs in the town which resulted in 11 premises selling to the police volunteers.

One venue, The Roebuck in Derby Street, was caught out twice by the licensing team.

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If placed, the notice could last between two and 14 days in lieu of going to court over the matter, where the maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine and up to three months closure of the premises.

Manager of the Titanic Brewery pub, Nick Bradstreet, said: "We have taken this very seriously and have introduced new training records to the staff. We have also introduced 'Challenge 25' and now have a button installed on the till screen that pops up with 'Challenge 25' every time a member of staff logs on.

"It has been very disappointing for us to be caught out as we are not an underage venue, but that doesn't excuse it.

"We will take every step to make sure it won't happen again."

David Bott, who co-owns Titanic Brewery, added: "I am surprised that The Roebuck has been caught doing this.

"Having said that, we can't argue that we have been caught out.

"We are not a pub chain which attracts underage drinkers so we generally are not used to it.

"We are taking extra measures now with promoting the Challenge 25 initiative, and I have faith that staff will be more vigilant now."

As for the police considering a Police Closure Notice, Mr Bott added: "We will be disappointed if they do that as The Roebuck does not deserve it

"The pub has become a great addition to Leek."

Staffordshire Police's Licensing Unit has recently issued three closure notices to pubs in Newcastle-under-Lyme after they repeatedly sold alcohol to underage customers.

The three venues – Lymestone Vaults, Revolution and London Road Tavern – all sold alcohol to juvenile volunteers posing as customers twice within a three month period.

By doing so they committed the offence of persistently selling alcohol to children.

All of the venues were made aware of their failure on the first occasion and yet failed a follow-up compliance test.

A Staffordshire Police spokesman added: "Similar operations have recently been carried out in the Leek area, with two taking place in the last month resulting in 11 premises selling to the police volunteers.

"Only one venue (The Roebuck Hotel) has sold on a second occasion.

"This matter is currently being considered for a Police Closure Notice."

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