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Dial-a-drink Belfast bar run by UDA chief's daughter flouts coronavirus guidelines


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Becky and Mark Pollock

Becky and Mark Pollock

Becky and Mark Pollock

A BAR run by the daughter of a loyalist paramilitary godfather is defying coronavirus safety advice by operating a dial-a-drink delivery service.

Bar Berlin on Belfast's Shankill Road has been advertising four pints of beer or cider for £10, brought to customers' doors in plastic glasses with lids.

The manager of the pub is Becky Spence Pollock, the daughter of West Belfast UDA chief Jim Spence.

Her dial-a-drink service, advertised on social media, risks Covid-19 cross-contamination, with pints pulled in the Berlin bundled into cardboard holders and ferried to customers' doors.

It has caused anger on the Shankill, with residents complaining to Sunday Life that some of those taking up the offer are vulnerable alcoholics, many of whom have gone into self-isolation because they are at increased risk from the virus.

"Whoever is behind this at Bar Berlin should be ashamed - it's the talk of the road," one local told this newspaper.

"When I first heard about it I thought it was a joke because no one could be so irresponsible and hungry for money. Then I looked at their Facebook page and saw the advert. They really have no shame."

There are questions as to whether the dial-a-drink service is even legal since the Government has ordered all pubs to shut.

There is also confusion over whether booze licences cover alcohol sold in a bar being drank off the premises.

In its Facebook advert Bar Berlin writes: "Folks back out tonight delivering drinks to people. There's a few orders in so far and you are not going to believe this but we have been asked can we deliver pints, so we are, lol. Four pints £10 free delivery, pint holders and lids supplied."

Locals believe that the brains behind the Bar Berlin dial-a-drink service is Becky Pollock's husband Mark Pollock.

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Jim Spence. Picture Sunday Life

Jim Spence. Picture Sunday Life

Jim Spence. Picture Sunday Life

The 41-year-old is hated by many on the Shankill after he pleaded guilty in court to running a dirty diesel scam with dissident republicans from east Tyrone and west Belfast. He was given 16 months in prison for the £2.5m smuggling racket and possessing £94,000 of criminal property.

After getting out of jail, Pollock formed a close alliance with father-in-law Jim Spence, using his senior UDA position to protect him from other loyalists.

The Covid-19 crisis has hit the paramilitary gang hard in the pocket, with its bars shut and a limit on people's movements destroying its drugs operations.

Sunday Life understands UDA dealers in the lower Shankill estate are providing a call-for-cocaine service, much like dial-a-drink offers.

"The UDA are charging £40 a gram and bringing it to your door," said one resident.

"Teenagers are doing all the running and they are only carrying small amounts of cocaine at a time in case they are stopped by the cops.

"If that happens they can let on it is for personal use and avoid being charged with drug dealing."

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph