Chipping Sodbury pub under review amid underage drinking claims
Updated 9:57am Monday 31st March 2014 in News By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
MANAGERS of a Chipping Sodbury pub accused of repeatedly serving underage teenagers have hit back at what they believe is a ‘smear campaign’.
The new management team at The Grapes, on Rounceval Street, say they are shocked by the allegations made against them which also include allowing high stakes gambling and drug use.
Leaseholder Sam Postlehwaite, who has run the business with partner Kerri Tolhurst since Christmas, told the Gazette: “We don’t know why but we have been accused of everything. We just want people to know we are completely above board and we are here to stay."
Mr Postlehwaite said poker games at the pub were limited to a maximum total bet of £100 and that CCTV cameras had been installed in the bar two weeks ago.
“We have invited councillors in to see what we are doing and we had a local Police Community Support Officer here on Sunday to check the cameras and he found nothing,” said Mr Postlehwaite.
The rebuttal comes after several parents contacted South Gloucestershire Council’s licensing department and the police after their children came home drunk saying they had been served at The Grapes.
One mum from Yate, who asked not to be named, said her 14-year-old daughter had been served at the pub three times despite showing staff her photograph and informing them of her age.
“Initially she was served in early January,” she said. “A few weeks later she went out with her friend and again came home drunk at around 9.30pm. I asked her where she had been served and she said The Grapes so my husband went in and spoke to them, showed a photo and they denied it although they have since served her again.
“I am now having to refuse her money and freedom so I know she is safe.”
Added the mother, who has registered complaints with the council and the police more than six times: “Having spoken to other people I have discovered that at least a further seven people have reported various issues.
“I believe this place should be closed down as soon as possible.”
Paul Jackson, whose 16-year-old son came home drunk from the pub, said: "He isn't allowed out at all now. I have complained to the police and told they are investigating but something needs to be done about it."
A spokesman for South Gloucestershire Council said: “We aware of concerns regarding underage consumption of alcohol at The Grapes and have discussed the matter with the licensee in liaison with Avon and Somerset police.
"As a result of this, the licensee is introducing a number of additional measures to ensure enforcement of the relevant underage drinking provisions including keeping a ‘refusals book’ to record refusals and introducing CCTV into the bar area.
"We will keep the matter under review.”
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