The MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, says he has concerns for the way the case of the couple from the Grey Horse in Elvington has been handled.
Nigel Cookson and Jo Cashon have been sacked by Punch Pubs after they broke Covid rules on Remembrance Sunday by giving away free drinks, from their own personal supply, to people who had been at the 11am silence.
During the day they had also sold draught products to the general public to take away in sealed cartons and flagons, but the couple say this was in line with Covid rules and they can support this with their till receipts.
Mr Sturdy is to raise the issue with the Chief Constable and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
He is writing to Lisa Winward and Julia Mulligan to say he is worried that the police are not operating on a ‘level playing field’ across North Yorkshire.
The MP wants a full explanation as to why there was a difference in the way police handled this incident and another in Harrogate.
There the landlord of the Coach and Horses on West Park had his licence revoked by the Borough Council licensing sub-committee in July, but this came after an initial warning from police officers about the way he was trading during the first lockdown.
The couple in Elvington have been sacked by the owners of The Grey Horse, Punch Pubs.
But Jo Cashon – the pub’s designated premises supervisor – and partner Nigel Cookson claim that is because the local police said they would try and get the licence revoked over the issue.
Police: Bodycam footage used
At the time the police issued a statement which YorkMix reported on 12 November. However last night they added this to it.
“For clarity, Punch used their own internal procedure to terminate the employment of the Designated Premises Supervisor.
“North Yorkshire Police’s licensing department engaged with Punch during this process and evidence was provided regarding this incident, including body worn video from the attending officers.”
They did not go into further detail.
Julian Sturdy also told YorkMix he will make representations to Punch Pubs to highlight the correspondence he has received from Elvington residents.
Some are now calling for a boycott of the pub when it reopens with a new landlord and the police have been branded as heavy handed by many locals too.
Not everyone in the village is behind them, but the Parish Council has been supportive, although it doesn’t condone what the couple did.
Those who back Jo and Nigel say this is too big a price to pay for one breach of the rules.
The intervention of the MP means the Chief Constable will have to explain not only the way the police dealt with the matter but also how they came to issue a fixed penalty notice and then withdraw it.
YorkMix understands that officers were under the impression that Nigel Cookson was the designated premises supervisor (the person who has day-to-day responsibility for the running of the business) so they gave it to him. It should have gone to Jo Cashon instead which is why it had to be withdrawn. It’s not exactly clear at this stage why there was confusion.
YorkMix has asked Punch Pubs to comment and we are waiting for any reponse.