A landlady has been allowed to keep her job despite 500 counterfeit DVDs being found in a makeshift shop set up in a back room of her pub.
Today the licensing sub-committee at Epping Forest District Council considered the fate of Karen McPhillips of the Sun Inn, Waltham Abbey.
Trading Standards officers and Essex police seized the pirate films at the pub and arrested the seller, who they describe as a “repeat offender”, on March 15.
Ms McPhillips who lives above the pub owned by Punch Taverns, admitted she rented the space for £25 an hour from 9am and 11am on Saturday.
But she claimed she was a victim of a rogue trader and did not know what was being sold.
She said: “I didn’t know that they were selling counterfeit DVDs.
“When the police left I found big brown envelopes with DVD s inside. Someone took my trust and used it. I don’t hold Punch Taverns or anybody else responsible.”
However, Liz Webb of the Trading Standards said she believed Ms McPhillips was aware of the operation.
She said: “We went in at around 11.15am and the activity was still going on, the pub was open.
“We would dispute that the designated premises supervisor had no knowledge of what was being sold.”
The solicitor representing Punch Taverns said that the company was in support of its employee.
“We do not dispute what was found in the back room but there is no evidence before you today to suggest that Karen was involved.” He added.
“The room was first rented around six weeks before the sting operation for the sale of boots and handbags and baskets. During that time Karen would have been upstairs getting ready for the day.
“The room from which the DVDs were being sold is a sealed room. IF anyone wanted to access them they would have to go through a side entrance.”
The council committee decided to allow Ms McPhillips to continue as the landlady but put conditions in place.
These stipulate that a visit must be made by Punch Taverns to the pub every six weeks and Ms McPhillips must visit all sellers.