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Trading hours dilemma

Can I trade an extra hour into the Bank Holiday?

Q: I run a city centre bar and restaurant which has a licence until 2am at weekends. I have only been the Designated Premises Supervisor for a few months, having worked at other late night venues in the city, but the bar is very successful and is particularly busy on Saturday evenings. At other venues where I have been the DPS, I have always been able to trade for an extra hour when British Summer Time commences and 1am becomes 2am. I assumed that this was something which all late night venues could do however, I received a visit from the police after 1am on Sunday 30th March and they told me that I must close immediately. They explained that I did not have the right to an extra hour of trade when British Summer Time commenced and was therefore committing an offence. I had not realised that this was something which needed to be expressly provided for on my premises licence. Am I likely to be prosecuted?

A: Unfortunately, the police officers were correct. Unless you have an express permission for an extra hour of trade when British Summer Time commences, you effectively lose an hour of trade when 1am becomes 2am. As the extra hour of trade was not permitted on your premises licence you were providing unauthorised licensable activities, which is an offence under section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of £20,000, a term of imprisonment for a maximum of six months or both. As to whether you are likely to be prosecuted, this will be a decision taken by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service but, amongst other matters, they would consider whether it would be in the public interest to prosecute you for the offence. If it is a genuine mistake it is unlikely to result in a prosecution but you should be aware that the police may monitor your premises more carefully and any further breaches of conditions could result in formal action being taken.

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