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£12,000 blow for smoke ban rebel Tony

From The Publican


A licensee who was found guilty of flouting the smoking ban has labelled his punishment "pathetic."

At court yesterday Tony Blows, who runs the Dog Inn, in Ewyas Harold, Herefordshire, was found guilty of two charges of letting people smoke on his premises and another of smoking himself.

He was fined a total of £1,075 and ordered to pay costs of £10,807.

He told "It's absolutely pathetic, I could smoke and sell crack cocaine and get a slap on the wrist or knock down a child at a zebra crossing and get a suspended sentence."

Blows has since put the pub up for sale and plans to move abroad, but not before launching an appeal against the decision.

Speaking at the case at Hereford Magistrates Court District Judge Morgan said there was "overwhelming evidence" against Blows.

He said: "The local authority went way beyond its duties in dealing with Mr Blows. He knew people couldn't smoke in his pub and it was his duty to enforce the law."

The case was the first brought by Herefordshire Council under the new legislation that came into force on July 1.

Andy Tector, Herefordshire Council's head of environmental health and trading standards, said: "I am pleased the judge has praised our handling of the case and was keen to say our officers had acted in a professional and efficient way.

"The outcome of the case demonstrated that the anti-smoking legislation is effective and we will do all we can to ensure the law is not broken," he added.

The total payout for Blows is the biggest for a smoke ban rebel so far.

In January Bolton licensee Nick Hogan was ordered to pay £10,000 for letting people smoke in his pub.

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