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Swab tests found cocaine in pub

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 10, 2014

26/03/14 GV
Byrkley Arms, Byrkley Street Burton..

26/03/14 GV Byrkley Arms, Byrkley Street Burton..

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DRUG use, brawls, illegal lock-ins, smoking and underage drinking at a Burton pub has led to the owner being stripped of his licence.

Staffordshire Police applied to East Staffordshire Borough Council to revoke the licence at The Byrkley Arms in Byrkley Street, owned by David Shipton.

A meeting of the council’s Licensing Act Sub-Committee held at Burton Town Hall yesterday heard that police had been called to the pub several times over two years, on some occasions at 4am – three hours after the pub is required by law to close.

A brawl in December 2012 led to police using CS gas.

Licensing officer for Staffordshire Police, Nicky Bills, listed ‘a catastrophic chain of events’ at the pub.

She said: “I was on duty that night. I can only describe the scene as if a saloon bar fight had taken place - there was glass all over the bar.”

David Shipton was the licence holder and designated premises supervisor but did not run the pub. A DPS would normally be responsibility for the day-to-day running of a pub but he told the hearing he would only go on a Monday to collect the rent.

In January 2013 a drugs swab was carried out. The results of which were so high for cocaine and morphine that it could only be attributed to drug use in the venue.

Mr Shipton took over as designated premises supervisor following this incident. He had previously rented the pub to Graham and Deborah Gibbs.

Video footage from a night in December 2013 was shown to the committee, which had been filmed on a sergeant’s bodycam.

It shows officers arriving at the overcrowded pub and attempting to disperse crowds of young drunk people. Around 60 people could be then seen outside the pub. The landlady at the time was Sandra Appleby who can be seen in the footage.

Ms Bills said: “Fifteen police constables were deployed to that pub. Per hour that is £262 to the taxpayer. They were there from 11pm until 2pm at a cost of more than £800 to the taxpayer, not including time in custody.”

Sergeant Tracey Carsley said: “We are not paid security officers. The thin blue line gets thinner every day.

“Police were deployed from all areas of Staffordshire, meaning they were not available for people who needed them.”

Mr Shipton, who previously ran the pub for almost 20 years, claimed he knew nothing about drug use at the pub, and if he had he would have ‘sorted it out.’

He told the Mail: “They should make coppers work until 65 like everyone else has to – that’s where all the tax money goes. The police want to close pubs down so they have got less work to do themselves.”

He will not appeal the decision and is selling the pub.

In revoking the licence, Councillor David Leese said: “We have no confidence that new conditions would have a positive affect. We do not believe the licence conditions would be adhered to.”

The building remains closed and is up for sale as a former pub.

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