'I'm gutted' - Pub owner axed Euro screening over fears of losing licence

Catherine Beane (centre) owner of The Rampant Horse Inn, with her two sons Ben & Riley.

Catherine Beane (centre) owner of The Rampant Horse Inn, with her two sons Ben & Riley. - Credit: Catherine Beane

The owner of a Fakenham pub said the stress caused by trying to meet all the Covid regulations stopped her eating and sleeping after cancelling a screening of the Euro final.

Catherine Baker, owner of The Rampant Horse Inn for 20 years, decided against hosting the 180-ticket event as she felt North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) made it difficult for the pub to go ahead with it.

Mrs Baker said NNDC never forced her to cancel the event, but felt the authority implied that if all the regulations were not met that her licence could be revoked.

She said the pub did end up showing the game - but only to an invite-only group of friends and family.

A council spokesman said it had merely enforced rules to protect "the venue and the customer", which it had a responsibility to do.

“It has been quite intense and feel I have been victimised,” Mrs Baker said.

“They [the council] called last Monday after last Saturday's night game and since then it seemed to be constant.

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“I’m losing sleep and my appetite over this. I felt my licence was on the line so I decided it was safer to call it off, due to the number of people.

“I know the rules are here for good reason but I feel like I have been picked on.”

As England progressed through the tournament, the crowds started to grow, with the pub the only one in the town with outdoor televisions.

Fans watching previous England games at The Rampant Horse Inn.

Fans watching previous England games at The Rampant Horse Inn. - Credit: Catherine Beane

Following England’s victory over Ukraine on July 3, she had a visit from the Department of Health at the district council. She also had police visit the pub three times throughout the night and there appeared to be no problem.

Through the week leading to the final, she had emails from the council raising concerns over a number of issues at the pub including people standing, singing and standing on tables. She was also required to hire Security Industry Approved (SIA) security guards with around three days notice.

Following the Ukraine match, the pub was served with an improvement notice on Covid regulations which she said was completed on Wednesday by 7pm.

She praised her customers for the semi-final against Denmark, saying they all followed the rules perfectly.

However, another email on Thursday mentioned her serving intoxicated people and also the responsibility of intoxicated people leaving her premises and causing disorder elsewhere in the town, which could be in breach of the Licensing Act.

Fans watching previous England games at The Rampant Horse Inn.

Fans watching previous England games at The Rampant Horse Inn. - Credit: Catherine Beane

“My whole week has been taken up with the stress of trying to sort all these things out," Mrs Baker said.

"I got it sorted, and Wednesday went off like a dream. Then Thursday I’m getting emails again after something happened elsewhere.

“I told everyone that they have to abide by the rules and they went off somewhere else and sung and apparently I need to be responsible for them when they leave the premises.

“I felt there was too much pressure with how they are watching me. So I made the sad decision to cancel it [the screening of the final] after feeling like I couldn’t keep going. I'm gutted.

“I had £8,000 worth of stock sitting in my cellar to sell on Sunday through the game. It is devastating, we have spent thousands of pounds getting this setup.

“After 18 months of little trade we at last had a chance to see a crowd of people enjoying themselves.

“The atmosphere was amazing and it is such a shame it came to this and I just want to say I’m sorry that I’m not strong enough to keep going and they have worn me down.”

The Rampant Horse Inn, on Queen's Road in Fakenham.

The Rampant Horse Inn, on Queen's Road in Fakenham. - Credit: Google Maps

A spokesman for NNDC said: “The council worked with the venue to advise over a number of concerns in the pub, including the implementation of central government regulations for Covid safety measures, which are understood to have been reinforced. 

“Coronavirus Improvement Notices are issued to protect both the venue and the customer and are set against a central government framework which the council has a responsibility to enforce.

"The council understands that the additional measures implemented at the premises enabled the Euro finals to be screened without incident on Sunday evening."

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