Willington pub landlord vows to appeal after county council strips him of licence

The Northern Echo: Hardy's Bar in Willington, County Durham Hardy's Bar in Willington, County Durham

A PUB landlord has been stripped of his licence after seeing hundreds of rowdy revellers pack into the premises when a party advertised on Facebook got out of hand.

Mark Harding, of Hardy’s Bar, in Willington, County Durham, is to appeal after his licence was revoked by Durham County Council’s statutory sub-licensing committee today (Tuesday, December 17). 

The hearing took place after Durham Police complained about the party, and showed that underage teenagers were served alcohol in the bar during a sting operation.

Mr Harding, speaking after the meeting, said: “I think they’ve made the wrong decision and I’m going to appeal.”

The committee was told that Mr Harding had no training in the licensing trade when he opened Hardy’s Bar on Commercial Street.

On July 6 the pub hosted a 17th birthday party for two teenagers which got out of hand when it was advertised on Facebook.

Mr Harding said buses of youngsters arrived and that it looked like a football crowd. Many party-goers spilled onto the streets.

He said that only people who had identification to prove they were over 18 were served alcohol. The police were called when the group became rowdy.

Then on July 24, July 26 and August 25 the police sent underage girls into Hardy’s where they managed to buy alcohol.

Sergeant Tim Robson, of the police’s alcohol harm reduction unit, told the committee: “We’ve concerns that underage people are getting alcohol in the pub and that Mr Harding has knowledge of it.

“The bar has a mural of superheroes on it and it looks like Mr Harding’s trying to attract younger people.”

Speaking after the meeting Sgt Robson added: “We’re very satisfied his licence was revoked. This shows the positive action taken against those premises who sell alcohol to young people.”

Solicitor Graham Hunsley, who represented Mr Harding at the hearing at County Hall, in Durham, said: “Mr Harding has not had the premises for very long and this is the first time there has been a review.

“Lessons have been learnt from these incidents. Mr Harding and the staff have now been trained and he wants to run the business in a proper manner.”

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