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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Police claim Cumbrian councillor is 'unfit' to run pub

Police are to ask Allerdale council’s licensing panel to strip a councillor of his legal right to run his own pub in Maryport.

George Kemp photo
George Kemp

Councillor George Kemp is landlord of the Lifeboat Inn, at Shipping Brow, which recently hit the headlines for hosting the unofficial giant vegetable world championships.

But a report by Cumbria police says there is “considerable evidence” that Mr Kemp, is not fit to supervise the running of his pub.

The report, written by inspector Mark Wear, outlines a string of allegations, many relating to trouble over the weekend of the Maryport Blues Festival.

Police claims include:

  • Reports of a brawl involving between 20 and 25 people on Sunday, July 31;
  • An allegation by security staff that Mr Kemp was drunk by 8pm, and shouted at police who were trying to sort out a large fight;
  • A claim that pub staff in beer tent outside the pub gave away free beer;
  • Reports of youths rolling pub beer barrels down Shipping Brow, damaging a neighbour’s car.

The report traces the problems back to 2010, when organisers of the blues festival ruled that the stage on Shipping Brow should be removed because they considered it a risk.

During the festival in 2010, there was disorder in the area, with some people lobbing bottles and cans at stewards, said the report.

The report suggests the pub was too crowded during the festival, with some customers using nearby Well Lane as a toilet, said the inspector. In May of this year a barman at the pub was caught selling lager and cider to a 16-year-old who was doing a test purchase for Trading Standards.

The worker was given an £80 on-the-spot fine and Mr Kemp was warned to ensure his staff checked ages.

“In the opinion of the police,” writes inspector Wear, “Mr Kemp was dismissive of the sale and was not taking the advice seriously. On July 19, continues the report, Mr Kemp told police he felt he was being victimised by them and Allerdale Council who he felt were unnecessarily forcing him to employ door supervisors.

“He stated there was never any trouble in his pub, he didn’t need door staff and he could deal with everything himself. The sergeant he spoke to concluded that Mr Kemp was putting “costs before public safety.”

The report goes on to recount how sergeant Graham Boyd closed down the Lifeboat Inn’s beer tent on July 31, and Mr Kemp began shouting at officers, saying he was a councillor and police were picking on him. “He wandered around complaining to members of the public that the police caused the disorder in his tent. The officer formed the opinion this was a deliberate attempt to ‘do his best to wind persons up nearby.’

“It is my opinion that this was a deliberate drunken attempt by Mr Kemp to instigate further disorder around his premises with a complete and utter disregard for public safety.”

The report gives a transcript of video recordings of that police officers made, in which Mr Kemp swears at a chief inspector and accusing him of making a fool of himself.

Allerdale’s licensing panel will consider the report, which also calls for the pub to employ two door supervisors whenever entertainment is provided, on October 6.

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