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Boxing match costs £6,500 fine

Sedgemoor District Council has prosecuted Latona Leisure Ltd trading as the Webbington Hotel and Spa at Loxton in Somerset following a report in the local media of a fight amongst the audience at a boxing event held at the Webbington Hotel on Saturday, 18 November 2017. The case was heard at North Somerset Magistrates Court today (28th September) and the Company, following a guilty plea, was fined £6,500 and Sedgemoor District Council was awarded £749 costs. 1/10/18

Boxing matches are 'licensable activities' under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 and Latona Leisure holds a premises licence for the Webbington Hotel. However that licence whilst authorising the premises for the sale of alcohol and the provision of live and recorded music and dancing did not authorise boxing matches. Consequently, the boxing event held on 18 November 2017 was an unlawful licensable event and therefore an offence under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003.

In addition, a major concern for the Council as licensing authority in this case is how little day-to-day knowledge there was of the licensing legislation held by members of the Webbington management team that authorised the event, especially given that they admitted not knowing their licence did not authorise boxing.

In mitigation on behalf of Latona Leisure it was stated that this was not a case of deliberate avoidance but one of omission for which the company duly apologised.

In passing sentence, the Chairman of the Bench stated that the company had a legal obligation to know and adhere to the terms of their premises licence

At approximately 21.30 hours on Saturday 18 November 2017, Police and ambulances were called to the Webbington, following a fight amongst the audience. Police investigations revealed that the fight involved a large number of participants with two people subsequently being taken to hospital.

It was noted that drink had been served in glass receptacles rather than plastic and that approximately 270 tickets had been sold.

The management team had assumed that White Collar Boxing (who ran the event) held a licence for the event but accepted that nobody had checked with them. The management were also unaware of the current location of the licence despite it being a requirement of the legislation that a copy of the licence be prominently displayed at the premises.

White Collar Boxing is a major supporter of Cancer Research and the event held on 18 November 2017 was in support of the charity

Latona Leisure fully co-operated with the Council during the investigation and fully accepted and admitted their culpability.