A joint investigation by Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Trading Standards and licensing teams has resulted in the owner of a bar that repeatedly broke COVID rules being fined almost £26,000.
Vincenzo Defeo, owner of Jack’s Café & Bar on Wandsworth Bridge Road, south London, breached regulations on six different days over a two-week period, despite repeatedly being given advice and warnings by council Officers.
In July 2020 the business was stripped of its licence to sell alcohol after neighbours complained of loud music and anti-social behaviour during lockdown. Defeo was given a prohibition notice but continued to ignore lockdown rules. He also failed to update the licence holder’s address and breached licence conditions on two separate occasions.
Defeo is the sole director of the company Callow & Ruscoe Ltd, which owns Jacks Café & Bar, as well as its manager. Following a two-day trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 27-28 June, he was personally fined £5,225 plus an additional £6,750 in costs, while the company itself was fined £6,750 and £6,756 in costs.
Cllr Ben Coleman, H&F’s Deputy Leader, said: “Residents can rest assured we will always crack down on rule-breaking. Other bars in the borough obeyed COVID lockdown rules despite the cost to their business.”
Doug Love, investigating officer from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “We would prefer to help traders understand and comply with the law. However, in this case we called upon the court to convict and punish Mr Defeo as it was clear he wasn’t listening.”
In an earlier ruling, a court backed the council’s decision to strip the bar of its licence and dismissed an appeal from the bar’s owner. The licence review was supported by the Met Police, a local residents’ association and 32 local residents.