A CHARITY ball which raised more than £14,000 for sick children has seen the organiser left with a hefty fine after being brought before magistrates for not having the correct licenses.
Rob Blurton, a director of Dove Valley Outdoor Events, has been ordered to pay £850 after putting the event on at Doveley’s Garden Centre, near Denstone, on October 26, 2010, by Burton Magistrates’ Court, despite the event raising valuable funds for Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital.
He was brought before magistrates’ after an investigation by East Staffordshire Borough Council’s enforcement officer who found that the event offered entertainment and the sale of alcohol which was therefore licensable under the Licensing Act 2003.
However, there was no licence in place at the time of the event.
He pleaded guilty to the charges at the Horninglow Street courthouse and was fined £600 as well as being ordered to pay £250 costs.
Speaking after his court appearance, Mr Blurton said the event raised £11,500 for the charity and the company donated an extra £3,000 taking the total to more than £14,000.
He said: “As it was a non-profit event I understood I didn’t need the license as the funds were going to charity and now I have ended up with a conviction and fine.
“I know now I should have had the entertainment license but I raised all this money for charity and this has put a downer on it.
“I was told I didn’t need the licence but I should have checked with the authorities. I don’t know what sort of person would report me for raising money for sick children.
“It cost me and my business partner more than £6,000 of our own money, which we wrote off, to put the event on.” Councillor Robert Hardwick, the authority’s deputy leader for regulatory services, said: “As the licensing authority we have an important role to play protecting the public.
“It is essential that those wishing to provide entertainment and sell alcohol have the correct licences.
“The authority are here to assist and able to offer advice and guidance with regard to licensing, but we will act against those who do not comply with the law.” Dove Valley Outdoor Events, which is based in Stoke, specialises in organising events offering marquee hire, bar hire and catering.