BLACK Cats star Lee Cattermole is once again free to drink in his home town after a four-year pub ban expired.
The 24-year-old Teesside-born midfielder was banned from bars in Stockton for three years in December 2008 after being arrested for disorder on a night out in Yarm.
Police had been called to the Keys nightclub by door staff and Cattermole, former Middlesbrough FC captain Matthew Bates and Cattermole’s brother Gavin, were subsequently arrested and given fixed penalties for a public order offence.
It came after Cattermole, of Aislaby village, near Yarm, had received a previous warning for bad behaviour in the town.
The former Boro star, who signed for Sunderland AFC in 2009, appealed shortly after his barring, which was considered and refused by the local Pubwatch group.
He again contacted them in December 2010, to request his ban be reconsidered, but it was refused by the steering group as only one appeal is allowed.
After the Pubwatch scheme received “numerous reports” of Cattermole breaching his ban, it was extended to December 2012.
However, Steve Paling, chairman of Stockton Pubwatch, has now confirmed the borough-wide ban has now expired.
“However, every individual licensee has the right to refuse entry to premises without reason,” he said.
“And we know a number of licensees in the Stockton area who won’t want him in their pubs.”
Matthew Bates was also handed an original two-year ban alongside Cattermole in December 2008.
Stockton Pubwatch is a voluntary organisation whereby groups of licensees, with support from Stockton Council licensing department and the Police district licensing unit, call time on troublemakers in pubs and clubs.
Those barred under the Pubwatch scheme are unable to enter most nightspots in Stockton, Yarm, Billingham or Thornaby.
Breach of a pub barring is a civil offence.
A Sunderland AFC spokesman said the issue was not something Cattermole or the club would comment on.