WATCH: The moment when police caught two people hiding in wardrobe during lockdown raid of Sheffield pub

A landlord has lost his premises licences for his two Sheffield pubs after police say they caught drinkers being served during lockdown.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 8:16 am

Paul Greasby, the landlord for both the Pitsmoor Hotel, on Pitsmoor Road, and the Staffordshire Arms, in Burngreave, will now not be able to reopen his pubs like others on July 4.

Sheffield Council’s licensing committee made the decision after James Holding, barrister for South Yorkshire Police, presented what authorities called "compelling" evidence during a public meeting.

Video footage of a police visit showed people hiding above the Pitsmoor pub in wardrobes and behind a door, pushing it against the frame to make it difficult to enter.

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James Holding, barrister, also provided this photographic evidence which shows people inside the pub during lockdown

An audio recording of an argument between Mr Greasby and his former girlfriend also revealed Mr Greasby shouting that coronavirus was "a load of f***ing b******s".

His ex lover could be heard asking him "do you not think you’re doing something wrong, Paul?" to which he replied: "No, because I know it’s a load of s***. It’s a load of f***ing b******s."

He later said he does not stand by those comments and would not say them in public but Mr Holding said it expressed his attitude on the matter.

In a summary of the case against Mr Greasby, Mr Holding said: “There is clear evidence that both premises were operating when they should have been closed.

Paul Greasby, landlord of the Pitsmoor Hotel and Staffordshire Arms, at the virtual licensing meeting

“Most notably the police visits to the Pitsmoor on the 23rd of April and the photographs from the CCTV footage from the Staffordshire Arms on the 2nd of April.

“A number of points have been raised by officers and other people involved in this but in relation to the Pitsmoor Hotel (council) members hit the nail on the head when they said why are people hiding in wardrobes if they were just there socialising?

“Unfortunately Mr Greasby is unable or unwilling to give a satisfactory explanation as to why they were in the wardrobes. I submit that the reason they were in the wardrobes is quite clear: as you have heard from the officers’ statements when they initially arrived, noises were heard and that was people running up the stairs.

“They were hiding in the wardrobes because they had clearly been consuming alcohol from the public house.”

Mr Greasby denied serving alcohol inside the pubs during lockdown and in his closing comments apologised for "any trouble it's caused".

Following reports to the police from the public, officers served a prohibition notice for the Staffordshire Arms to shut before doing the same for the Pitsmoor Hotel.

In a report ahead of the licensing meeting, police officers said continuing to operate the Pitsmoor after the Staffordshire Arms was served a prohibition order showed: "A persistent and deliberate disregard for the regulations, public health and licensing objectives."

Greg Fell, director for public health, was also present at the meeting and said: "It's impossible for me to overstate the seriousness of the situation. This is the most serious public health crisis that I ever hope to have to manage, probably the most serious crisis since the 1918 flu pandemic and it may well surpass that yet.

"Many of those that have been affected were well, I'm not concerned about those people but well people can infect other people - particularly the vulnerable and it's the transmission of the virus that is particularly concerning to me.

"At that time, in early April, we were close to the peak of the pandemic - this was a major deal. The virus was significantly more prevalent than it is now.

"Whilst the law has been a pain, it matters and it matters for a reason: it was there to save lives."

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