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Pub operator faces £51k fine over an advertisement on side of the building

The operator of a pub in Gateshead has been ordered to pay more than £51,000 after ignoring demands to remove an illegal advertisement on his building.

Mark Garry, director of G Leisure which owns the Whickham House pub on Bensham Bank, was convicted in February last year for displaying an illegal advertisement on the gable of his pub.

However, the sign remained in place and he was taken back to court by Gateshead Council.

Magistrates decided to fine him £250 for every single day that the sign was on display following his conviction totalling £50,750.

The sign, which was put up without planning permission, had been reported to Gateshead Council in August 2017.

Garry declined to remove the sign and in November 2017 submitted an application for planning permission which was refused.

When the matter came to court, magistrates agreed with the council and fined Garry £1,000 in his absence. However, the advertisement remained in place.

By September 2018, Gateshead Council began legal proceedings against Garry for displaying an illegal advertisement. He then removed the advert, but the offence had already been committed and legal proceedings continued.

In January 2019, Gateshead Magistrates' Court found Garry guilty, again in his absence, and fined him £50,750. He was also ordered to pay costs of £336 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection at Gateshead Council, said: "All businesses have a duty to operate within the law and the Council takes a serious view of those who choose to ignore their responsibilities. Mr Garry refused to engage with the council for a long time, did not acknowledge the planning decision and then ignored the decision of the Court and this penalty reflects his disregard for those authorities."