Welcome to the new Press Page for the Porky Pint Bar & Restaurant.
We’ve put this page up to address some of the public responses to the recent press coverage that the recent application by Cleveland Police to review the bar’s Premises License has attracted.
The Evening Gazette were good enough to contact us for comment, and we’d like to thank them for the opportunity to put our side across.
The article that ran was missing some important context that we want to provide here.
We were open within the rules
The venue was opened on Saturday 30th January 2021 as part of a nationwide awareness campaign – The Great Reopening UK – to bring attention the devastating effect that the measures imposed by the government has had and continues to have on small businesses across the UK. The advice of a barrister confirmed that it was and is within the exemptions provided for in the Rules to open for business meetings of up to 30 people
THE POLICE & COUNCIL KNEW
Both Cleveland Police and Stockton Council were notified of the intention to open the business as part of the Great Reopening, and the advice of a barrister confirmed that it was and is within the exemptions provided for in the Rules to open for business meetings of up to 30 people, which is what both Cleveland Police and Stockton Council Licensing were told when they visited on that day.
Donations were given to local sports clubs
Donations were made by the people that attended and the proceeds have been donated to Billingham Cricket Club and Norton Cricket Club, both of which have been hit hard by the effects of government actions during the last 12 months.
The full text of the comment that was sent to Gazette Live is here for context:
Thank you to the Evening Gazette for giving us the opportunity to comment on the ongoing harassment of our business by Cleveland Police and Stockton Council Licensing Team.
Both the Police and Council are aware that our issue is not and has never been with Cleveland Police or Stockton Council Licensing. That is, until now.
We have previously had the greatest of sympathy for the impossible position that they have been placed in.
As they have told me many times, they are “just following orders”.
Our issue has always been with the current government in Westminster which seems hell bent on destroying small businesses and permanently stealing and destroying the rights and freedoms of the British public. For no good reason, based on all of the facts and evidence we now have available to us 12 months in to the pandemic.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions – god knows, they have exercised that entitlement ad nauseam these past 12 months – but they are not entitled to their own facts.
It is ludicrous and nonsensical that petrol stations, supermarkets, and fast-food chain drive through services, where hundreds if not thousands of people will be touching the same surfaces each day, can remain open, whilst small businesses are being driven to bankruptcy by the unlawful enforced closure of their premises.
A person can go to work all day in a van with their workmate, but then cannot go and enjoy a pint at a bar with them afterwards. Children can spend 8 hours a day in a classroom with their friends but are reduced to dystopian video call parties for any of their friends’ birthdays as it would be illegal for them to meet and have a real children’s birthday party.
Then again, small businesses and families in Teesside cannot afford to donate hundreds of millions of pounds to political parties or pay expensive law firms and lobbying firms to threaten and cajole politicians, so I suppose we really should not be surprised now, should we?
I am, however, surprised that Cleveland Police have chosen to commence a costly Premises License Review with the intention of revoking the Premises License of a small local independent hospitality business such as ours. The action will cost the Council – and local tax payers – tens of thousands of pounds, at the very least. And will go on for months, as we will be defending and appealing all attempts made by Cleveland Police to attempt to revoke the Premises License for as long as it takes for common sense and justice to prevail.
I am also left baffled and bemused that it is Cleveland Police that have submitted this Premises License Review application to Stockton Council Licensing Authority, as their officers have told me repeatedly that it is not upon the Police to prosecute or enforce Coronavirus Regulations, as it is a civil matter and up to the Council.
Even more perplexing is that Cleveland Police, Stockton Council and Crown Prosecution Service Cleveland know fine well that almost all fines and prosecutions brought under the Coronavirus Regulations have inevitably been dropped as unlawful.
What a waste of time and public (Teesside tax payer) money.
We employ several local staff – young people – and many with young families. Despite making no profits during the last year, the business is planning to expand to Hartlepool and Redcar, creating many more new jobs and tax revenue for Stockton and other local councils.
At a time when the actions of this criminal government have left over 700,000, mostly young people, unemployed – with millions more to follow once the furlough scheme ends – I would have thought that Cleveland Police and Stockton Council would be promoting small businesses and not trying to destroy them.
Especially with all the good work being done by the Tees Valley Mayor’s office to promote the region as a place that welcomes and encourages the hard work of business owners employing residents of Billingham and beyond.
This criminal government in Westminster has squandered £300 million of public money on an advertising campaign to terrorise the people of Britain, and a whopping £400 billion – all additional debt that the ordinary working people of Britain and Teesside must pay back through increased taxes – on Orwellian and largely unnecessary boondoggles like the £37 billion surveillance tool of “Track and Trace” that doesn’t work, is entirely illegal, and puts the private data of British citizens in the hands of private companies to exploit and sell as they see fit.
This government would do well to heed the old adage “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”.
I am sure that the people of Billingham and the wider Stockton Council electorate would rather their recently increased Council Tax payments be spent on paying Cleveland Police to, oh, I don’t know, maybe investigate and arrest actual criminals? Drug dealers, rapists, violent thugs, fraudsters? Not on trying to ruin and destroy an independent small business for daring to question and challenge the unlawful and illogical actions of a criminal government?
Our business has already been fined £1,000, and now Cleveland Police want to abuse their power and misuse the Licensing Act to try and force us to close our doors for good.
Our business has an exemplary record of no crime or disorder and excellent food hygiene standards, and is a much-loved local family-friendly venue and has received no complaints other than in relation to our protests against the unlawful actions of a lying, criminal government.
The irony of this action by Cleveland Police is that it comes at a time when hospitality venues are about to reopen, and by the time the Review is held, most all businesses will be reopened normally – which is precisely the “offence” for which Cleveland Police seem to believe that our community hub venue deserves to be destroyed at the cost of so many jobs, and the loss of a place that has been a critical source of social interaction and companionship for so many lonely and elderly local residents for so long.
In closing, I would like to say “Thank You” to Cleveland Police and Stockton Council. I had been deliberating whether to run for a seat on Stockton Council in the upcoming local elections on 6th May this year, and their application to review the Premises License of our business to try and destroy it has made up my mind to do so.
I will be running as an Independent candidate to bring desperately needed context and perspective to local government action, to stamp out this petty tyranny by a useless minority drunk on power in Cleveland Police and the Council, and to support and promote the interests and businesses of the residents of Billingham and across all the electoral wards of Stockton Borough Council.
Who knows? It may be that by the time the Premises License Review takes place, that I am a councillor for Stockton Council as the authority responsible for deciding whether to revoke the license or not.
Then, things could get very interesting indeed.
We will post this response as written above in full on the business’s website and social media channels only after the Evening Gazette has published the story.
Thank you again for giving us this opportunity to respond, Kristy.