Times delivers your petition

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The Times has sent the following letter to Doncaster Council’s licensing department, along with the petition raised by you, our readers, regarding the council’s “test purchasing” operations in local pubs, and notably the Old Market Hall.

Dear Sir / Madam,

Please find enclosed a petition of some 430 names, raised by the people of the Mexborough area and administered on their behalf by the South Yorkshire Times.

As you will see, this petition protests your authority’s test purchasing “sting” operations, in collusion with South Yorkshire Police, and demands no action is taken against the town’s Old Market Hall (Wetherspoon) pub following your most recent, underhand methods.

I wish to say, personally, that I have been a regular attendee of this establishment since the week it opened and have NEVER seen any evidence of under-age drinking (save that obviously engendered by yourselves), or trouble of any other kind. The pub is a model establishment and is probably the safest and most pleasant drinking places in the area. Not plagued by loud music, it is a place where people of all ages congregate, in community spirit.

I have to say that there are other premises in the town of Mexborough – seemingly not touched by your operations – where this is NOT the case. I have clear documentary evidence of this, which is already in the public domain, but which I will be happy to supply confidentially, to either yourselves or the police, on application.

This evidence also makes reference to under-age drinking on the canal bank in the town. Over the past weeks, while the canal has been iced over, this has been littered with yet more evidence of this.

These drinks are of a type NOT generally sold in any of the town’s pubs, but appear to emanate from off-sales trade.

What are you doing about this situation – which, as the local residents themselves know well, clearly constitutes any real under-age drinking problem that exists in this town? In light of all this, I hereby make a Freedom of Information request of you for:

a) A full history of all your “test purchase” operations in this area, over the past two years, with details of premises visited and results

b) Details of any other initiatives that yourselves and the police have undertaken to address the issues above

I feel you should be made aware that, in these days of gross cuts, local people – whom it should be remembered, you are here to SERVE, not to dominate – are becoming tired of your authority’s heavy-handed approach to fixing something which is not broken (at least not in the manner in which you perceive it to be).

Jim Oldfield,


The South Yorkshire Times

* To reply to the South Yorkshire Times email letters@dearnetoday.co.uk