Man set to open Wellingborough barbershop told he can’t give out free booze to customers

Jake's Northampton barbershop, which had served free beer to customers
Jake's Northampton barbershop, which had served free beer to customers

A man who is to open a barbershop in Wellingborough next month has been warned he must not give out free alcohol to customers.

Jake Hillery owns The Gentleman’s Quarters in Northampton but has been told by the council there he needs an alcohol licence to give free pints to punters.

He said: “I was contacted by the council demanding me to stop handing out free beer in Northampton and Wellingborough.

“I think it is really unfair as I do not make a penny on beers, I just hand them out so guys can relax have a hair cut.”

A Wellingborough Council worker contacted Mr Hillery after he saw a video on Jake’s Facebook page highlighting the free booze giveaway.

Mr Hillery added that he has friends in other towns which hand out the odd bottle of beer to paying customers as opposed to a hot drink.

He said: “My barber shop is a similar place to a barbershop in Poole.

“We mainly deal with the older gentleman and we hand out free beers and shots to customers.

“I have received a call saying I need to buy a licence and that they [environmental health] would check up on me to see if I am still handing out free beers.”

A Wellingborough Council spokesman said the alcohol is linked to the transaction and it therefore needs a licence.

The spokesman said: “The Facebook advert clearly stated that beer was going to be made available for customers while they waited for a haircut.

“The council officer discussed with him the provision of alcohol in such circumstances, and advised that if the alcohol was in any way linked to a transaction, and not demonstrably free, then it was a licensable activity, and as such a premises licence would be required.

“During these discussions, Mr Hillery confirmed the provision of alcohol was intended to be part of a transaction for a haircut.

“Mr Hillery was given advice on applying for a premises licence to permit the retail sale of alcohol, and has since made further enquiries with the council about this.”

The spokesman added that the council has a duty to inform the business operator.

He said: “The council takes a graduated and proportionate approach to dealing with such matters, but when a particular issue is brought to our attention we have a duty to advise the business operator accordingly.

“Our first approach is always informal and advisory.

“With the numerous public health and anti-social behaviour concerns linked to alcohol, it is important that the retail sale or supply of alcohol is suitably controlled through the licensing regime.

“The licensing regime ensures that businesses supplying alcohol do so in a safe and responsible manner.”