A RISHTON publican has been prosecuted for showing football matches without paying the Sky licence fee.

Blackburn magistrates heard John Yeoman was warned about the situation after an investigator saw a Premier League match being shown in the Rishton Arms, which is also known as the Station.

The court was told Yeoman failed to respond to initial queries and investigators subsequently visited the pub on six separate occasions over a four month period and found football being shown on Sky.

John Yeoman, of St Huberts Road, Great Harwood, pleaded guilty to six charges of dishonestly receiving a programme with intent to avoid payment.

He was fined £600 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs and £85 victim surcharge.

The same allegations against Josie Havens, of the Rishton Arms, Station Road, Rishton, were withdrawn.

James Marsland, prosecuting, said a legitimate commercial agreement with Sky would have cost £970 a month.

He said investigators visited public houses which did not have a commercial agreement and then the licence holder would be contacted and warned about the situation and the possibility of prosecution.

He said information had been left with staff at the pub and letters sent after an investigator visited in September and saw the West Ham v Chelsea match being shown in the pub.

"Efforts were made to contact Mr Yeoman between September and November to tell him it was illegal to show the matches without a licence," said Mr Marsland.

"There was no response and subsequent visits found football still being shown on Sky."

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Yeoman told the court he ran several pubs and had been served with a notice to desist at one in Oswaldtwistle and he told the staff in Rishton to stop showing Sky.

He said his grandfather had died in September and he had been looking after his grandmother.

"I usually run all my sites and I accept I am responsible for whatever goes on," he said. "It all comes down to me and I should have been more observant."