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Crackdown on Norfolk fruit machines

PUBLISHED: 13:41 23 June 2009 | UPDATED: 21:36 07 July 2010

Ian Clarke

Six Norfolk businesses had to take out fruit machines they were running without a licence after being caught out in a crackdown by Breckland Council.

Six businesses had to take out fruit machines they were running without a licence after being caught out in a crackdown by Breckland Council.

The premises were all in Thetford and officials have warned they will be making more spot checks in the weeks to come.

Owners of businesses breaking the rules can face up to 51 weeks in prison and a fine of up to £5000.

Breckland's licensing team carried out a joint operation with the Gambling Commission to check premises had permits to use machines.

Licensing officer Patrick O'Brien said: “We were disappointed to find that businesses had unlicensed machines in operation. We asked for the machines to be removed immediately and we will be revisiting all those places to make sure that has happened. In the next few weeks we will also be making similar spot check visits to premises throughout the district.

"We understand there may be some confusion around the law, but businesses should be aware that to operate a machine without a valid licence is against the law and they could be prosecuted for it.”

Breckland's executive member for the environment Ann Steward said: “We are investigating all aspects of illegal gaming, including those that have them on their businesses premises and also those who supply the machines in the first place.”

Tony Arnold, compliance manager at the Gambling Commission for the Breckland area, said: “Our aim is to ensure that gambling is crime free, fair and safe for all. We can best achieve this with cooperation and multi-agency working and this is an example of that in action.”

*Contact Breckland Council's licensing officers on 01362 656870 or e-mail LicensingTeam@breckland.gov.uk

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