Brighton pub selling illicit alcohol allowed to keep licence

By Sara Hussein

- Last updated on GMT

Picture by Google Street View
Picture by Google Street View

Related tags Admiral taverns Public house Brighton and hove

A Brighton pub has been allowed to keep its licence despite claims of “openly selling” illicit alcohol to customers, Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed on Monday (7 November). 

Councillors debated the issue regarding the Royal Standard (Admiral Taverns) at a licensing panel hearing held on Friday (4 November). 

The pub, as well as other premises, was raided in June when more than 100 bottles of illegal wine and spirits were seized, said Sussex Police

The raid, one of three in the same week, resulted in 12 men being arrested.

Following legal proceedings nine men will be sentenced at a crown court on 8 and 9 December, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess class A drugs (cocaine) with intent to supply.

One man has also been charged with two counts of criminal property, but has pleaded not guilty to possession of an offensive weapon without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.

Another man has pleaded not guilty on acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.

Pub ban

Former Royal Standard licensees Alma Dema and Nick Humphries are now banned from working or being involved in any way in the site, which was closed in August.  

Trading standards manager Jo Player said: “The premises were inspected as part of a multi-agency operation with the police looking into serious organised crime.

“Most of the alcohol on the premises appeared to be illicit and included alcohol which had no duty or VAT paid on it and mis-described alcohol. Evidence discovered by trading standards offices showed that this alcohol was being openly sold to customers.”

Player said that despite the “serious concerns” about the pub’s illicit supply of alcohol and management issues, there was “no evidence” that indicated Admiral Taverns was aware of or involved in the activity at the site.

She added: “It is for this reason that trading standards proposed a condition be placed on the licence preventing the managers and tenants of these premises being involved in any way, rather than revoking the licence. “

Admiral Taverns business development manager Anna Clissold said: “We have been working very closely with the local authority and we are thankful that an agreement has been reached regarding the future of the pub and conditions agreed.

“We are pleased that the premises’ licence remains intact and we will continue to cooperate with all relevant parties.”


Sussex Police said they had encountered several issues at the pub, including football-related disorder, which managers failed to address.

The police issued a set of conditions to prevent crime and disorder in the pub, such as installing CCTV cameras, which will be recording at all times.

To ensure public safety, all glassware will be made from tougher material, or polycarbonate during important events, such as Pride celebrations.

Customers will not be allowed to take alcohol outside the premises to consume while smoking, congregating or eating on the pavement during Brighton & Hove Albion home football matches. 

Related topics Spirits & Cocktails Health & safety

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