Police deny acting drunk to catch out licensees

Related tags Licensees Leicester Police Undercover

Leicestershire police have denied claims that they will be trying to catch out licensees by pretending to be drunk in pubs. The Leicester Mercury and...

Leicestershire police have denied claims that they will be trying to catch out licensees by pretending to be drunk in pubs.

The Leicester Mercury and the Sunday Express reported that undercover police in the area would slur their speech and order drinks before giving an official warning to any licensee who continued to serve them.

But Supt Ken Kelly, lead officer for violent crime in Leicestershire, said licensees had no reason to worry about being caught out in this way. "I was absolutely misquoted in the story about undercover police officers behaving like drunks. It does not occur and it will not occur," he said.

Local licensees are relieved that the police have denied reports. Lindsay Nickless, licensee at The Ship Inn in Leicester, said: "I don't think being underhanded is right at all. So I'm pleased police are claiming there has been a mistake."

John Martin, general manager of the Litten Tree pub in Leicester, said: "The police are capable of anything, even sending in underage drinkers as stingers. But I'm pleased it's not true about pretending to be drunk otherwise it is entrapment in my opinion."

From a legal perspective, police who try to catch out licensees by pretending to be drunk could end up in trouble themselves. Nick Dickinson, head of licensing at Manchester law firm Pannone LLP said: "The law couldn't be clearer. It is only a crime to serve someone who is drunk. It says nothing about serving someone pretending to be drunk. I'm pretty sure that if police tried to catch anyone out using this method the case would not only be thrown out of court but they [the police] would find themselves having to pay costs too."

He added that he was relieved that police had so far denied reports. "Any publicans who would have read the reports would have every right to be very concerned. They feel punched into a corner as it is and this sort of hoodwinking is not on. Licensees will hopefully feel that their mind has been put at rest."

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