Magistrates have overturned a pub's licence suspension — saying it amounted to a punishment and had nothing to do with protecting the public.
Councillors went beyond their remit by suspending the licence of the Railway Hotel, in Chapeltown Road, Bromley Cross, Greater Manchester, Bolton magistrates said.
The pub's licence was suspended for two months in August after failing two underage stings. New conditions of better staff training, displaying more age-check signs and keeping a refusals register were also imposed.
The pub has been allowed to trade, pending an appeal by operators Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises (S&NPE).
Police said there had been no further complaints about the pub since June. The management said the staff who served the youngsters no longer worked there and the licence suspension would ruin the business.
An S&NPE spokeswoman said: "Our solicitor highlighted the fact that parts of the sentence were unrealistic. We will work hard to adhere to the conditions that we have been given.
"The Railway Hotel will not be without a licence going forward, allowing the business to continue successfully in the future."
A Bolton Council spokesman said magistrates "may have been influenced by the evidence they heard that the suspension of the licence may lead to the closure of the business".
"The council is pleased with the outcome of the judicial process in which it exercised its powers appropriately."
MA legal editor Peter Coulson said: "Licence reviews should never be used as punishment, but to improve the way the premises is run.
"The magistrate must have realised this is a form of punishment. The council would have needed to show that two months' suspension of the licence was needed to put things right."