A late-night celebration for staff led to a rap on the knuckles for a Grangemouth hotel licensee.
Melanie Crawford, premises manager at the Oxgang House Hotel, was called before Falkirk Council’s licensing board this week after police discovered staff drinking after hours on November 1.
Neighbours had complained about noise, and when officers attended they found people in the bar and numerous glasses of drinks on the table.
Inspector David Gibson, of Police Scotland, said: “Officers initially attended at 1.13 a.m. when they heard music coming from the hotel. They were then called away to another job, and came back at 2 a.m. when it was quiet but found 10 people still inside the premises. Melanie fully accepted that it was the wrong decision to make and was full of remorse. However, licence holders should be setting examples, and I would express concern that she has failed to meet the standard expected.”
Andrew Thomson, representing Ms Crawford at the licence review, said it was a one-off, out-of-character event which came about after a member of staff’s partner proposed during the evening.
Mr Thomson said: “Melanie fully puts her hands up to what happened that night. She’s 26 and has worked in the licensed trade since she was 16, at Beancross for a couple of years before moving to the Oxgang.
“One of the remarkable things I have discovered is how close-knit the team are at the hotel.”
Mr Thomson added: “One of the bar staff, who has had a tough year, got engaged, and Melanie had a great deal of sympathy with her situation so there was an added significance to this proposal. In the past, premises were allowed to have staff drinks after hours, although that is no longer allowed under the licensing act and Melanie was aware of that.”
Board members were satisfied that it was a one-off occasion and moved to endorse Miss Crawford’s licence.
Councillor Allyson Black said: “I am the daughter of a publican and I have been a barmaid, and this used to be allowed, so it can be hard for the public to understand that this type of thing can no longer happen, under any circumstance.”
Convener of the board Malcolm Nicol said: “This will hopefully concentrate your mind to stop anything like this happening in the future.”