Saturday, January 28, 2023

Publican has licence revoked

A pub manager has been stripped of his licence after a council became aware of a number of criminal convictions, including fraud.

Carmarthenshire Council’s licensing sub-committee revoked Ryan Jones’ personal licence after hearing more about his actions at a meeting on August 20.

The meeting was attended by Dyfed-Powys Police licensing officer David Bizby, who recommended that the sub-committee considered suspending Mr Jones’ licence.

Asked what the impact of a suspension would be Mr Jones, who was issued with a licence by the council in 2005 but who now runs a pub in Surrey, replied: “It would be massive for me personally, because I can’t do my job, and for my staff.

“I would have to go back and tell them the pub has closed, they don’t get paid – it would be catastrophic.”

But the sub-committee opted for the tougher revocation sanction after taking legal advice in what was the first case of its type in Carmarthenshire following a change in the law, which shifted powers from the courts to local authorities.

The meeting heard that Mr Jones was convicted of fraud in 2017 – he had been living in Bristol but the address given at Bristol Crown Court was The Farmers Arms in Pontarddulais – and failed to notify the council of the conviction, as he was supposed to do.

He was also convicted of common assault and battery in 2013, resulting in two 12-week consecutive prison sentences and a six-month suspension of his personal licence, plus an offence of driving while unfit through drink or drugs in 2008.

Mr Jones, when asked to say more about the fraud conviction, said it had involved his ex-partner transferring money into his bank account, which he had not been able to explain to police.

However he then accepted Mr Bizby’s assertion that he had in fact spoken to a company which was providing equity release to his ex’s mother after the mother had died, pretending she was still alive and asking how to obtain further money.

Mr Bizby also outlined some of the details of the common assault and battery cases.

Asked about his current position at The Fox Inn, Worplesdon, Surrey, Mr Jones said he was in charge of around 16 employees but that the pub was owned by a businessman who was currently on holiday.

The 50-year-old described the premises as the focal point of the community but said he had only worked there for four weeks.

The council’s solicitor, Robert Edgecombe, issued the sub-committee’s decision after its three members retired to consider their findings.

Revoking the licence, Mr Edgecombe said Mr Jones had failed to tell the council about the convictions and changes in address since 2005 and that he had not learned from the previous six-month suspension.

Mr Jones has 21 days to appeal to Llanelli Magistrates’ Court.

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