16/10/20: Story and photograph courtesy of Express and Star www.expressandstar.com
Publicans in Bridgnorth are coming together to clamp down on drug taking in venues in and around the town.
Dave Whelan, landlord of The Shakespeare Inn, Bridgnorth
The local Pubwatch scheme is expanding and aims to make life easier for landlords and ladies, while ensuring venues remain a safe environment for members of the public.
Chaired by Jason McComb from BamBoo Wine Bar, the initiative will look at imposing banning orders on those found to be involved in drug taking.
This means that any individuals caught with drugs could be banned from all pubs and bars in the surrounding area for up to a year with immediate effect.
David Whelan, landlord of The Shakespeare Inn on West Castle Street, said: “Unless all the pubs stick together, the drug taking will move from pub to pub, making things uncomfortable for customers, breaking the law and putting extra pressure on publicans – which we especially don’t need during these Covid times.
“While we’ve always had a zero tolerance on drugs, with this scheme we’re able to identify individuals that take drugs easier.
“It’s a problem for publicans because it requires extra policing of toilets, monitoring individuals and if people come in who are using drugs and you leave them on the premises, you’re leaving them with potentially vulnerable people open to suggestion – 18-year-olds may come in and if they see an older adult doing it, think it’s OK.
“With the Pubwatch if something happens in one pub where people have been thrown out for using drugs or any reason, it can go through our group to let all the publicans know.”
Andy Corfield, landlord of the Crown on High Street, added: “During the tough times for the hospitality sector, the last thing we need is any antisocial behaviour, that’s associated with substance abuse.”
The initiative will also look to punish those flouting coronavirus restrictions.
Mr McComb said: “It’s unfortunate that we have to exercise these types of measures, but in these challenging times we need to create a safe environment for us all to enjoy.
“We will also be targeting any antisocial behaviour too and those that choose to ignore the Covid-19 regulations.”
Venues signed up to the scheme so far include BamBoo Wine Bar, the Black Horse, The Black Boy, Bassa Villa, The Parlors, The Fosters Arms, The Harp, The Friars, The Shakespeare Inn, The Old Castle, The Crown, The Stable Bar and Atrium, The Royle, The Golden Lion, The Bear, and The George.
The scheme is looking to expand its scope to other rural pubs in the area.
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