A SALTCOATS bar was given a stern warning after football fans were served alcohol at 8am in the morning.

The Elms Bar’s manager and staff member on duty on the day were brought up before the Licensing Board this week for review hearings after the incident in March 31.

Chief Inspector Brian Shaw told the board football fans waiting to travel to an Old Firm game were served alcohol outside the pub’s licensed hours.

Children were allowed in the premises at the time and when police arrived staff ‘panicked’ and said the drinks were ‘complimentary’.

He said: “An incident happened on Sunday, March 31 before a football game between Rangers and Celtic , and the premises were visited following some information.

“At about 7.59am in the morning members of the public entered the bar and were subsequently served alcohol on the premises outwith the permitted times.”

Bar Manager Victoria Scrivenor said: “Elaine McGinn (barmaid) had taken the decision to open the bar. When this was brought to our attention it was firstly quite shocking, disappointing and we addressed it immediately.

“This was a huge error of judgement, it was a one-off mistake for her. It all went horribly wrong. I can’t defend it, because it’s a hideous situation, I hold my hands up.”

Ms McGinn said she felt under pressure from punters and added: “I just wanted them to stop asking.”

Cllr Robert Barr said: “You say you were under pressure but the customers must know the law as well, all you need to say is sorry but the law doesn’t allow me, but you went ahead with it, and denied it at first and said they were complimentary.”

Elaine added: “That was just panic.”

The board agreed a warning letter would be sent and that Ms McGinn could keep her personal licence.

Convenor Cllr Ronnie McNicol said: “It will be on your record and if you see us again we may impose other sanctions.

“Don’t do it again.”