Ex-landlord rapped for pub lock-in at height of lockdown

Joseph Graham was said to be 'intoxicated' when police visited Tappie Toories in Dunfermline last year.

Ex-landlord rapped for pub lock-in at height of lockdown LDRS

The former landlord of a Fife pub has been reprimanded after hosting a lock-in during the first wave of coronavirus.

Police said Joseph Graham gave the impression officers were “inconveniencing” him when they visited Tappie Toories on Dunfermline’s Kirkgate in the early hours of May 12, 2020.

He is no longer involved with Tappie Toories, having sold it to new owners earlier this year.

Sergeant Neil Ewing, Police Scotland licensing representative, told Fife Licensing Board that the lock-in took place at the peak of the first wave of Covid-19 in Scotland, when licensed premises were required by law to be shut.

Restrictions were not lifted on pubs until July.

Sgt Ewing told the Fife House meeting: “At 9pm on May 12, police received reports of a number of people in a lock-in at Tappie Toories, Dunfermline.

“At 1am on the 13th officers entered and observed a number of people drinking and empty glasses on tables. People were clearly under the influence of alcohol.

“Joseph Graham identified himself as the responsible person and officers formed the opinion he was intoxicated.

“He claimed all those people were helping him tidy up. It was obvious the premises was not cashed up for the evening.

“He was charged with culpable reckless conduct, and continued drinking from a can of lager. He showed no remorse, and gave the impression he felt officers were inconveniencing him.”

As part of their visit, officers had requested CCTV footage when they investigated the lock-in but Mr Graham claimed he could not provide it.

Since the visit last year Tappie Toories has been ordered to install a new CCTV system that can easily be accessed by visiting inspectors.

While he expressed some empathy with the wayward landlord, Sgt Ewing was firm that all pub operators were expected to follow the rules at the time they were in effect.

“There’s no doubt hospitality has been affected throughout [the pandemic], but the restrictions are there for a reason and every licensed premises must play a part,” he added.

Mr Graham’s hearing had been on the cards for months but was deferred at the landlord’s request.

Councillors decided that Monday’s meeting – the third time his conduct had been on the agenda – was the last straw.

Howe of Fife and Tay Coast Conservative councillor Andy Heer put forward a motion to endorse his personal licence, which was seconded by Kirkcaldy East Labour rep Ian Cameron.

East Neuk and Landward SNP councillor John Docherty put forward a motion to suspend Graham’s personal licence, but failed to find a seconder.

Mr Graham has been contacted for comment.

By local democracy reporter Jon Brady

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