Gorleston pub landlord fined £4,750 for illegally showing Premier League games, including Arsenal v Manchester City
PUBLISHED: 08:42 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:48 08 September 2017
(C) James Bass 2012
A landlord who admitted illegally showing live Premier League football told a court he had been left in a “complete mess” following thefts from the pub and a divorce.
Phil Taylor admitted showing four games without a commercial licence at The Tramway pub in Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, between February and May this year.
Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard live clashes - which included Manchester City versus Swansea, Spurs versus Southampton, Arsenal versus Man City and Crystal Palace versus Hull City - were shown to punters at the venue, which had a domestic rather than a commercial package.
Elaine Freer, prosecuting for the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) on behalf of Sky, said the pub - which should have paid £947.52 per month for a commercial package - avoided paying £4,737.60 by having a domestic set-up.
Taylor, who represented himself, admitted four counts of dishonestly receiving a programme with intent to avoid payment. The 57-year-old, who has previously had a commercial licence, said he was in a “complete mess” at the time.
He said about £5,500 was stolen by a couple who had been running the pub with a further £2,000 being taken in a separate incident where the Lowestoft Road-based watering hole was broken into.
He said: “At that particular time I was brassic. Since then I’ve had a divorce. I lost my family home, I was homeless and ended up sleeping in my office for five months. At that time I was in a complete mess. I just couldn’t afford the £900.
“I don’t dispute I did show it but I was in a complete mess.”
Taylor, who insisted there were only about 10 people in the pub at the times the games were shown, said he had his employees to think about and did not want to lose the pub which is now being turned around.
Taylor was fined £4,750, ordered to pay £1,500 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
Richard Middleton, chairman of the bench of magistrates, said business people “cannot be seen to get away lightly by not paying their due fees”.
Speaking after the case, Taylor said he had been “made an example of”.
The court heard an investigation began in August 2016 after the pub was found to be showing a game without the proper commercial licence.