A Durham bar owner has been ordered to pay over £500 for failing to have suitable security staff in place at his two bars.

James McDonald, of Derwent Mews in Consett, owner of K2 The Union bar and Chaplains in the town pleased guilty to two charges of hiring un-licensed staff in line with the conditions of his premises’ licenses.

Peterlee Magistrates Court heard that, between July and October 2021, police visits to both bars found door staff were not registered by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), which is a requirement under each premises’ license.

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It was also found that the person McDonald, 27, had hired to provide his door staff did not have their own security company.

Another licensing condition for the two premises requires that CCTV footage must be kept for 28 days, however it was found Chaplains only had footage for 23 days.

In an interview, McDonald also admitted that a licensing condition requiring him to keep a log of the door staff had not been complied with.

He confirmed he knew it was his responsibility to check that door staff were licensed with the SIA but he had ‘taken his eye off the ball’ and allowed the breaches to happen.

McDonald, 27, submitted an early guilty plea to two charges of not hiring SIA licensed bar staff in line with the conditions of his premises’ licenses.

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He was ordered to pay a £200 fine, a victim surcharge of £34 and £294.50 costs.

Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s public protection manager, said: “Licensing conditions are in place for a reason, and the main purpose of the requirement relating to security staff is to ensure public safety and prevent crime and disorder.

“McDonald’s early plea shows he acknowledges his responsibility for the breach in licensing conditions. However, this case should serve as a warning to himself and other business owners that it is imperative to comply with the conditions of a license to avoid facing legal action.”

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