Saturday 22 December 2012

Smoked out

In the days of the old licensing laws, the “lock-in” where a pub continued serving after hours to a group of favoured customers was commonplace, and was often carried out with the full knowledge of the local police, if they were confident no trouble would result.

With the liberalisation of licensing hours, that probably happens much less often now but, following the 2007 smoking ban, it has been replaced by the “smoke-in”, where the doors are shut and the ashtrays come out. Various comments over the past five years have suggested this is very widespread.

But, apparently, Bolton Council see it as a priority to clamp down on such outrages.

Lesley O’Reilly, who is landlady of the Gilnow Arms in Deane, has been fined £500 and ordered to pay a further £510 in costs and surcharge after pleading guilty to failing to prevent smoking inside the pub.

Speaking after she was sentenced at Bolton Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Ms Reilly said: “I really think they have killed the trade with this law.

“Why can’t we give smokers a room inside where they can go instead of them having to stand outside.” The court was told the pub was visited at 1.25am on May 13 by council enforcement officers and police as part of a routine inspection.

The front door was closed and curtains shut, but the officers were allowed inside after knocking on the door and they smelled smoke.

Rebecca Kirk, prosecuting on behalf of Bolton Council, said one man was stood at the bar smoking a cigarette with an ashtray at his side and Ms O’Reilly was sitting with a woman who was smoking a hand -rolled cigarette.

Altogether there were four ashtrays out in the pub, containing a total of 18 cigarette butts.

Whatever happened to the old policy of turning a blind eye? £27.78 per butt – that is beyond harsh.

One of the comments on the article is very telling:

The smoking ban HAS killed the pub trade..fact! All the people who said they hated smoke filled pubs never went in in the first place, and they certainly don't go in now.

And what are the council doing organising a posse of officers and police at that time in the morning just to find 18 cigarette stubs and somebody smoking a cig and somebody smoking a roll up. Pathetic!

There are far worse things going on in 'the suburbs' going on...ah but council officers won't go there.

In an era of cutbacks and austerity, it is beyond belief that Bolton Council thought it worthwhile to spend council tax payers’ money on such a vindictive crusade. And I hope the scumbag who grassed the pub up feels thoroughly pleased with his efforts.


  1. 'I hope the scumbag who grassed the pub up feels thoroughly pleased with his efforts'.

    He or (more likely) she certainly will. I know a cow who bragged twice about doing this to one of our local pubs. There were no late night raids but the pub landlords eventually ousted the tenants.

    When the ashtrays came out at 10.30ish the place came alive. It's not as though all the smokers turned up at that time. They had waited until the antis had left, whereupon there was a collective sigh of relief as normal service was resumed. Non smokers included.

    We had a quick basket meal there a couple of months ago. Very few of the old guard were there. We had one pint each and decided it wasn't worth staying for a second. I spent £35 on meals and beer for four. An almost complete waste of money and 45 minutes.

  2. The poisonous legacy of the totally unjustified and unjustifiable smoking ban continues to destroy society. If the intention behind the ban was to create division and sow distrust (and I'm inclined to think that many of those involved in driving this legislation through were fully aware of the consequences)then it has been a very successful piece of social engineering.

    The old adage "Divide and conquer" remains as valid today as ever. The Stasi used similar techniques to good effect. Their control of the populace was almost complete. The UK government hasn't yet reached the stage that the Stasi were at, but they're working on it. You just have to look at the salami slicing of personal liberty generally. A little restriction here, another one there. Almost daily. Slowly slowly catchee monkey...


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