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Weekend round-up: Crisis hit pubs set for council tax bail out

Published:  20 October, 2008

A round-up of stories from the weekend newspapers.

A round-up of stories from the weekend newspapers.

The Observer: The Serious Fraud Office has warned investors to beware scam artists after three men and a woman were jailed last month for combined sentences of more than 10 years after operating a fraudulent wine investment scheme that promised stellar returns. Targeting wealthy investors, some as far away as the US, 'Vintage Wines of St Albans' used high-pressure telephone sales techniques to push what it claimed were the finest wines from Spain, Bordeaux and Tuscany.

The Observer: Nine out of 10 pubs now let in children and it was reported this week that many letters have been received by the editors of the latest Good Pub Guide about the appalling behaviour of these children, and their parents.

The Mirror: Hundreds of crisis-hit pubs could be bailed out by council tax payers. But to qualify for a handout, they will have to turn themselves into post offices, shops, libraries or internet cafes as well as serving drinks. The new "People's Pubs" could even supply school dinners under local Government Minister Hazel Blears' plan. Grants from £5,000 to £20,000 will be available under the Sustainable Communities Act which becomes law this week. Councils including Sheffield, Suffolk, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Cheshire are already investigating the scheme, which harks back to an era when village pubs often doubled as shops.

The Telegraph: Bolton football club is giving away free beer to its supporters. At the Reebok Stadium, the first 1,000 Bolton fans who pay their way into the ground's new Fanzone before the game with Blackburn were entitled to a free pint of ale. The giveaway booze idea has been dreamed up to counter the worrying decline in paying customers at Bolton.

The Northern Echo: A Middlesborough mayor is asking pubs in his town to call time on cigarette vending machines. Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon has taken the action after a recent test-purchasing operation by the council's Trading Standards team showed that only two out of ten pubs prevented a 13-year-old volunteer from buying cigarettes from machines on their premises.

The Sun: A sat-nav programme which guides drivers to the nearest boozer has been slammed by road safety groups. The Campaign for Real Ale's £5 download directs motorists to more than 4,500 pubs featured in its Good Beer Guide. Its advert boasts: "Now, wherever you are, there is no excuse for not finding your nearest Good Beer Guide pub!"