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The wife of smoke-ban rebel Hamish Howitt is being prosecuted for not being a member of the local pubwatch. Blackpool Council brought the prosecution...

The wife of smoke-ban rebel Hamish Howitt is being prosecuted for not being a member of the local pubwatch. Blackpool Council brought the prosecution against Joanne Howitt under the Licensing Act - she's due at magistrates on 2 April. The council claims that as premises licence holder of Del Boy's, she broke the Licensing Act by breaching licence conditions - not operating a radio link, not using doormen and not being in a pubwatch. A spokeswoman said it couldn't be taken to a council review because the licence is revoked. It's currently open, pending an appeal. The couple face further charges for flouting the ban.

Private equity firms Apax and Cinven have abandoned plans to participate in a takeover bid for Mitchells & Butlers. Insiders say they were finding it "extremely difficult to make the maths work". Guy Hands' Terra Firma has also dropped out, according to The Sunday Times, although Blackstone and CVC are reportedly still interested.

Two licensees have been landed with £4,000 fines and criminal records for showing Premiership football via Sky domestic cards. Patrick Gawley of the Alexandra, Wood Street, Barnet, was also ordered to pay £986 costs. Rachel Ford of the Hub, Wheelright Lane, Coventry, was hit with £701.25 costs. Both were also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge after being found guilty on four offences.

The legal drinking age in Scotland could rise to 21. Minister for public health Shona Robison told the BBC: "The Scottish Government is currently in the process of developing a long-term alcohol strategy and as part of this we have been looking at a range of issues including availability, accessibility and age of purchase. Nothing has been ruled in and nothing has been ruled out and we will present our proposals later this year."

Best Bar None has launched its new national website at www.bestbarnone.com. The website offers guidance and information for areas that want to set up Best Bar None schemes, including template forms.

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Village position close to Reading and Newbury Extensively renovated public house Bar, conservatory, snug and function room (80-90) Four en suite letting bedrooms Two bedroom owner/staff accommodation Part-covered trade garden...

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