Hotel slapped with hefty fine after unlicensed boxing event descends into mass punch-up

Webbington Hotel and Spa. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Webbington Hotel and Spa. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A popular hotel has been fined thousands of pounds after hosting an ‘unlawful’ boxing event, which descended into a brawl among the crowd, without a licence.

Latona Leisure, which runs the Webbington Hotel in Loxton, has had to fork out more than £7,000 after being prosecuted by Sedgemoor District Council.

A charity boxing event was held at the hotel, in Webbington Road, on November 18, 2017 by Ultra White Collar Boxing.

The night descended into chaos, as police tackled a mass punch-up in the 270-strong audience which left two people in hospital.

Reports in the local media, including by the Mercury, prompted the council to investigate the event, and officers found the Webbington did not hold the licence required to host boxing events.

Latona’s events licence only covered it for live music and dancing events.

The council also discovered drinks were being served in glasses, rather than plastic cups as required.

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Latona co-operated with the council’s investigation and insisted it was an honest mistake.

The firm assumed Ultra White Collar Boxing – which raises money for Cancer Research by pitting amateurs against each other in the ring – held the licence required for the event, but the hotel company admitted it did not verify this with the event’s organisers.

The case was heard at North Somerset Courthouse on Friday, where Latona entered a guilty plea before being slapped with a £6,500 fine, plus £749 in costs.

The council spokesman said it was an ‘unlawful’ event.

They added: “A major concern for the council as licensing authority in this case is how little day-to-day knowledge there was of the licensing legislation held by members of the Webbington management team which authorised the event, especially given they admitted not knowing their licence did not authorise boxing.

“In mitigation on behalf of Latona Leisure it was stated that this was not a case of deliberate (licensing) avoidance but one of omission for which the company duly apologised.

“In passing sentence, the chairman of the bench stated that the company had a legal obligation to know and adhere to the terms of their premises licence.”