Pub which is set to close breached Covid rules during third lockdown

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The Fighting Cocks pub in Lowestoft will close on Sunday. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A pub which is set to close this Sunday broke Covid and licencing rules during the third national lockdown in March 2021, according to police.

Police discovered that during the third national lockdown in the UK, people were drinking at the Fighting Cocks pub in Lowestoft at a time when hospitality venues were still closed.

According to police, this put staff, customers and police officers at risk.

They say members of staff at the pub at the time would post events on social media, which broke national Covid guidelines at the time, leaving members of the community living near the pub to feel unsafe.

Suffolk Police's licensing officer John Corkett said: “The Fighting Cocks pub was found to be in breach of Covid regulations in March 2021.

"Officers visited the pub and found people drinking in the bar area during a time when this was not permitted, putting staff, customers and even police officers at risk.

"The Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) who was in post at that time was issued with a fine and further licence conditions to the licence.

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"However, the DPS continued to breach these by hosting events and promoting them on social media, for which we received further complaints and concerns from the community.

“The DPS in post at the time consistently failed to make the premises Covid-secure despite interventions by police, Environmental Health officers and the council.”

The Covid breach is revealed as people in the community rallied together to try and stop the pub from having its usage changed.

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Ian Chilley (left) says he has 'turned the pub around' since the incident. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Current pub manager Ian Chilley says that since the Covid and licencing breach in March 2021, the pub has been "turned around."

He said: "I do understand that this looks bad but since then there have been no complaints or breaches since I took over and we have a complete zero tolerance to anything untoward.

"Since taking over I have consistently tried to ensure that the pub operates in a safe a legal manner in all respects."

The current DPS Melanie Whatmough and former landlord at the pub Darren Howlett have been approached for comment regarding the incident.