Landlord is jailed over smoking ban

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A Lancashire landlord has become the first in the country to be jailed for flouting the smoking ban.

Nick Hogan, 43, whose family run the Swan With Two Necks in Hollinshead Street in Chorley, has been sentenced to six months for non-payment of fines.

It relates to penalties he received for refusing to honour the 2007 smoking ban at one of his previous pubs in Bolton.

The controversial publican, who is also UKIP's national spokesman for licensing and the night-time economy, was the first landlord in the country to go on trial for breaking the rules and he was fined more than 10,000 by Bolton Council in 2008.

However, he repeatedly failed to pay fines and has brought before the courts on at least 12 occasions, according to an official at Bolton Magistrates' Court.

Now, they have run out of patience and locked up the publican for six months at a hearing on Friday.

His wife, Denise Hogan, said: "I'm devastated. He was warned he might go to prison, but I don't think you can expect it.

"He's not robbed a bank or hurt anybody. He's just stood up for what he believes in.

"Nick has never been in prison before. He's not refused to pay, he simply can't afford to.

"I wasn't able to speak to him afterwards. That was very difficult, but with good behaviour he'll do three months."

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: "The court's decision marks the end of a lengthy process and proves that, ultimately, flouting the law can have severe repercussions.

"Mr Hogan represented a very small minority and we approached him on numerous occasions about his actions.

"Before the smoking ban came into force in July, 2007, the council adopted an educational approach to enforcement and the majority of local businesses were supportive of the ban.

"However, we always maintained that if people broke the law we would take further action and will continue to do so.

"Mr Hogan was fined for his actions and was made well aware by the courts of the implications of non-payment. Therefore, we are satisfied with the result."

In 2008, Hogan was fined 3,000 and ordered to pay 7,236 in costs after being found guilty of four charges of failing to prevent people from smoking in his pubs under the Health Act 2006.

He held public protests at the pub against the smoking ban and vowed to fight the authorities in the European Court of Human Rights.

At the last local elections in Chorley he ran as a candidate for UKIP for a seat on the Chorley and Lancashire County councils. He lost out in both.

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