PUBS in Burton which tested positive for traces of cocaine have been told they must show signs of improvement – or face the possibility of losing their licence.
Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis has demanded an improvement after the Mail reported that traces of the Class A drug had been found at 28 out of 31 pubs tested in the town.
Mr Ellis said if he saw no improvement in six months’ time, he would look at taking direct action against the establishments.
Police licensing chiefs in Burton were eager to point out that pubs were not being held responsible for the results, and that landlords had been generally positive about working with them to combat the problem.
But Mr Ellis has adopted a somewhat tougher stance and said the noises currently coming out of pubs were commendable– as long as they could be backed up with results.
Comments made by Mr Ellis’ office in recent weeks have already stung pub industry bosses, and the commissioner’s input is unlikely to help relations.
He told the Mail: “More and more pubs are showing positive signs for cocaine dealing.
“And it’s fine saying they are working with the police, but that doesn’t change the fact 28 out of 31 pubs tested positive.
“We have seen no progress with underage serving and if there is no improvement in six months’ time the words will fall on slightly deafer ears than they are at the moment.
“We’re hopeful that pubs will keep working closely to make improvements, but promises simply aren’t good enough.
“Efforts are all well and good but we need a results. There are too many young people getting involved in drugs and too many underage people getting served.
“We welcome the efforts, but what will be even more welcome is the problem getting solved.”
Mr Ellis stopped short of saying that pubs which did not show improvements could be closed, but said: “We will review it and will work with the licensing authorities.”