Community order for former Coach and Horses landlord who breached driving ban
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Last updated Aug 27, 2021
John Nelson is the well known former landlord of the Coach and Horses pub.

A Harrogate court has issued the former landlord of the Coach and Horses with a community order and extended the driving ban he has admitted breaching.

John Nelson, 65, who held the licence at the Coach and Horses for 33 years until last summer, appeared at Harrogate Justice Centre today.

He was appearing to hear his sentence. Nelson had already pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance at a previous hearing.

North Yorkshire Police had stopped Nelson on Burn Bridge Lane in Burn Bridge on July 13. When they stopped him the officers test him for drugs. Nelson tested positive for cocaine.

However, the court heard how the officers were unable to take a blood test back at the police station so that was not taken into account in sentencing.


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Nelson had been banned from driving for 18 months on May 7 after police pulled him over with cocaine in his system and Class A drugs in his jacket.

In defence for Nelson today, barrister Andrew Thompson, said:

“Mr Nelson has said his reason for driving the vehicle was that a friend of his had left medication in his car when they were in Harrogate.

“So he took the decision, which he accepts was wrong, to drive to Leeds. It appears that someone reported him to the police while he was in Leeds.

“The court is aware of the significant issues Mr Nelson has in his life, which may explain why these offences have occured.

“Mr Nelson is a retired publican who is well-known in the town. He feels he has let himself down again.”

In sentencing, the magistrates issued Nelson with a 12 month community order for breaching the driving ban. As part of that order he will need to do 25 rehabilitation days.

The court extended his driving ban to 26 months which comes into effect from today. Nelson will also have to pay a £364 fine.

What happened to the Coach and Horses?

Nelson is a well-known character in the Harrogate area. He used the profile of the Coach and Horses to help raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities.

However, he lost his pub licence after police found customers drinking outside the Coach and Horses and not observing social distancing during the weekend of May 30, 2020.

Customers of the pub launched a petition to grant the licence to his daughter Samantha Nelson, which Harrogate Borough Council did in October last year.

Ms Nelson said she would refurbish and reopen the pub but it remains closed.


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