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Licence loss after drugs bust unfair, says Swanage landlady
A Swanage landlady convicted of possessing a cocktail of illegal drugs has vowed to fight for her parents’ “family” pub after council bosses revoked its licence.
Alexis Luker, 37, who was sentenced to 140 hours community service after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine, cannabis and the “party drug” ketamine, believes her family are being unfairly treated by Purbeck District Council and Dorset Police.
Police raided the Purbeck Hotel, High Street, Swanage, as part of a wider drugs crackdown in November last year.
They found cocaine with a street value of £600, cannabis worth £450 and a small amount of ketamine on the premises.
Ms Luker says her parents, Brian and Margaret Gibson, own and run the pub and although she was the licensee on paper, her main role was pub cook.
Despite Ms Luker’s guilty possession plea, no-one has been convicted of dealing drugs at the premises.
Because of her drugs charge, she applied to the district council to vary the licence, making her mum Margaret the new licensee, but this was rejected.
Ms Luker told the Daily Echo: “Brian and Margaret, whose pub it is, have run it successfully for the best part of 20 years, so I feel they are being very hard done by.
“The possession was mine, not theirs. It was found in my private accommodation.”
Lawyers representing the Purbeck Hotel now have three weeks to appeal the decision to revoke.
Ms Luker said: “There will be an appeal. We serve food, we have a restaurant, we have families in. We are not some dive disco pub.
“There is no evidence to support dealing goes on in the pub; otherwise I would have been prosecuted for something other than possession.”
Meanwhile, Dorset Police Purbeck Section Commander Inspector Chris Weeks – who gave evidence at Thursday’s licensing hearing – said: “We will not tolerate drug taking in Purbeck.”
He said the raid on the Purbeck Hotel was based on intelligence about drugs on the premises.
“This clearly undermines the licensing objectives regarding crime and disorder and public safety.”
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