Derbyshire landlord defends threat to shut down wedding over smuggled booze

Ryan Pound and Kelly Kirkham own the Seven Oaks Bar and Restaurant in Stanton by Dale.

13/9/2019: Story and photograph courtesy of Derbyshire Times www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk

The landlords of a Derbyshire venue have defended their threat to shut down a wedding after discovering guests had smuggled in their own booze.

Ryan Pound, owner of the Seven Oaks, said he took to the microphone to say he may have to stop the party after making attempts to deal with the problem discreetly.

The announcement attracted criticism on Facebook, but the vast majority of followers backed Mr Pound and his partner Kelly Kirkham.

The Facebook post said: “Disgusting behaviour from the landlord at Seven Oaks last night.

“I was attending a beautiful wedding when the landlord stopped the DJ, threatening to shut the wedding down because he found five people who brought their own drinks.

“Must have been 200 people all drinking from behind the bar and [the landlord tried to spoil] the day because of five individuals.”

However, Mr Pound claimed the number of people drinking their own booze was more like 15 to 20. He said he had tried to talk to the people responsible but a small number of those had resisted.

He said, “A couple of people kicked off – everyone else was reasonable.”

“We always speak to whoever is running the party first. We allowed them
to stay in the end.”

“On this occasion I did apologise for the interruption, but I said we are a small family business and I explained the implications that this has on us. We needed to put a stop to it.”

“We said we may have to close the party down.”

It is understood that the bride and groom of the wedding in question were happy with the way the landlords dealt with the problem.

Mr Pound, who was joined by his partner and landlady Ms Kirkham, said customers drinking their own alcohol poses a real risk to their licence as without knowing how much people had consumed, they could not keep track of how drunk they were.

He added that it also increased the risk of trouble. He said: “We’ve had people with their own crates of drinks under the table.

“Sometimes it’s one-litre bottles of gin or vodka. There was an incident two weeks ago at another pub when there was a guy who had a car boot full of drinks.”

The Seven Oaks Bar and Restaurant in Stanton by Dale – near Ilkeston – hosts weddings and other functions in its marquee, which can hold up to 200 people. The landlords of the free house have been running it since 2004.

Paul Gaughan, chairman of Ilkeston and District Pubwatch and former landlord of the Old Mail House, said any patrons caught drinking their own alcohol in local pubs would be asked to leave – although he said they would not receive an immediate ban.

He said: “If you can’t spend a few quid at a wedding, when can you?

“I would advise venues that only serve as function rooms to stay members of Pubwatch. You are more likely to have an incident at a function than in a day-to-day public house.”

NPW Editor comment: The Facebook criticism of this landlord is extremely unfair. Why should he put his license at risk because some people begrudge purchasing alcohol at commercial prices? The risks of drunkenness and under-age consumption are very real in this type of scenario.

We would also like to echo Chairman Paul Gaughan’s comments regarding the importance of ‘function rooms’ being a member of their local Pubwatch. National Pubwatch continually receive queries from people who have booked a function room at their local pub, to celebrate a special occasion, who want to know if one of their guests can attend, because ‘they have been banned by Pubwatch’.