Pub receives significant fine for illegally operating during lockdown

8 September 2021

Mr Mark Counihan and Ms Camelia Viorica Mihoc of The Field pub, 249 Neasden Lane were were both found guilty on 2 September 2021, of breaching business lockdown laws. 

They were each fined £3,000 and ordered to pay individual costs of £1,000 and £190 victim surcharges by Brent Magistrates Court. 

Brent Council Regulatory Officers initially investigated the premises after the police received reports that the pub was operating via its backdoor serving customers, while the rest of the country was in lockdown. 

The council issued a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in February 2021 for breaching Covid laws.The fine was not paid and the business continued to operate illegally providing drinks for the consumption of customers on the premises, in contravention of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, as amended. 

The Magistrates carefully considered all evidence collected during the hour-long hearing last week. Evidence presented showed the business was open in February, April and May 2021 when it should have been closed. 

During one afternoon spot check in April 2021, a Licensing Enforcement Officer gained entry after the door had been unlocked. Inside, the officer witnessed nine customers drinking alcohol being served by two members of staff behind the bar. Beer pumps were lit up ready to pour, the till was switched on and several delivery notes were found showing regular drink deliveries to the pub had been taking place when it should have been closed. 

Cllr Promise Knight, Lead Member for Community Safety and Engagement at Brent Council, said: 

“Whilst it has been incredibly difficult for the hospitality sector over the last year, particularly during lockdowns, it was critical for all businesses to adhere to the national restrictions in place to help slow the spread of the virus. 

Reducing social contact was a vital and necessary step to keeping everyone safe and protecting the NHS. 

Fortunately, most businesses acted responsibly and followed the lockdown rules, but the few who didn’t, were issued with penalty notices. For outstanding fines that have not been paid, we will not hesitate to bring these businesses to court.