Dacorum’s top policeman has sent out a warning to all landlords in the borough after a police raid on a Berkhamsted pub brought about a conviction for drug dealing.
The warrant executed in the High Street’s The George pub in December saw 57-year-old Alan Clark charged and publican Mark Wheway cautioned in connection with the investigation. Clark, who lived on the same road as the pub, was jailed for four years after having supplied class A drug cocaine to undercover police officers on five occasions from September to December.
He pleaded guilty to the offences at St Albans Crown Court on Friday.
Chief Insp Glen Channer said: “I am very pleased with the result at court. We had information to suggest that Clark was using the pub as a place to freely deal drugs so launched an operation to gather evidence. I’d use this as an opportunity to remind publicans of their responsibility to ensure they are operating within their licence.
“Where we have information about suspected breaches or unlawful activity, we will do all in our power to investigate and take action.”
Tanya Wheway, mother to The George landlord Mark, spoke to the Gazette on her son’s behalf.
She said: “We were completely unaware that Clark was doing this and are obviously very shocked.
“If the police found things while Mark was unaware that something untoward was going on, unfortunately landlords have a responsibility, even if they are unaware.
“They have a door policy and an age policy – you try to run a business in the best way you can but you sometimes don’t have full control.
“From hearsay I understand there is a problem with drugs in Berkhamsted – it is quite an affluent town – and it is a good thing the police are being vigilant.
“Mark and his wife Katherine have children and do not want to see a situation where the town becomes renowned for dealing with drugs.
“It is in everybody’s interests that this is monitored by the police and they do their best to curtail it.”