Drinkers 'found hiding in cupboards' when police shut down pub flouting lockdown

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Police visited the The Pitsmoor Hotel in Pitsmoor Road, Sheffield, on April 24 to discover it was still open. (GOOGLE)

Police were shocked to find drinkers "hiding in the cupboards" of a pub which continued to serve drinks after it was ordered to shut due to coronavirus lockdown rules.

Responding to reports from members of the public, officers visited the The Pitsmoor, Sheffield, on April 24 to discover it was still open.

The pub was found to be in breach of current laws which prevent pubs from opening to customers during the UK’s social distancing measures that came into force in March.

Earlier this month, the nearby Staffordshire Arms in Burngreave was still "shamelessly" serving customers after it was ordered to close. Both pubs have now been served with prohibition notices.

However the landlord of both pubs, Paul Greasby, denied the claims, telling the Sheffield Star: “I would not wish to make any comment at this stage other than to say that the press reports are wildly inaccurate.

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“In one instance there was no-one in the public house at all and in the other instance the only people in the public house were my son and some of his friends.

“They were upstairs in the private quarters, no money was taken for any drinks in either instance. Neither of these pubs were at the time open to the public.

The nearby Staffordshire Arms in Burngreave was still "shamelessly" serving customers after it was ordered to close earlier this month. (GOOGLE)

John O’Malley, liquor licensing manager at South Yorkshire Police, said in a statement: “On Friday night, officers attended the premises and found a number of people hiding in cupboards, the pub was clearly still open for business.

“What makes this more significant, is that the license holder has already been served a prohibition notice under the legislation for another premise, The Staffordshire Arms on Sorby Street.

“Licenses for both venues are now under review by ourselves and Sheffield City Council, so there could be long-term implications for these businesses."

Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and development at Sheffield City Council, said: "These restrictions are in place to protect everyone from the spread of coronavirus.

"Hundreds of people are still dying in the UK amidst this pandemic and whilst I am heartened by the sacrifices the vast majority of individuals and responsible businesses are making during this lockdown period, it seems some appear to believe they can ignore the regulations and in doing so risk spreading the virus.”

Electronic bilboards displays a message warning people to stay home in Sheffield as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The UK is in its sixth week of social distancing restrictions after the government announced on April 17 that measures would be kept in place for “at least” another three weeks.

Legislation requires the government to review social distancing measures every 21 days, with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) set to meet and discuss lockdown on May 7.

However, it is currently unclear if the lockdown will be extended in its current state beyond that date, or if measures will start to be gradually eased from May 7.

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