Watford’s only over 21s music bar was dealt a major blow at London’s High Court as its proprietors were hit with a music ban and a legal costs bill for £1,801.

Mrs Justice Proudman imposed the ban on Flamingo (Watford) Ltd and Dennis Cook, trading as Flamingo at the Parade, 135 High Street, Watford, on May 22 after hearing they were caught playing recorded copyrighted tracks there without a Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) licence.

They were also ordered not to play any more music at any other premises they run until they brought their music licence up to date.

Failure to obey the order and turn any premises it runs into a music-free zone until all licence fees are brought up to date would be regarded as contempt of court, the penalty for which can be fines of up to £10,000 and up to six months in prison.

The pay up or shut up order was imposed after the judge heard they were caught by a PPL inspector playing music on the premises when they did not hold a PPL licence.

Charlotte Scott, counsel for PPL, said that a PPL inspector had attended the premises on November 22, 2013, and heard recorded tracks being played.

The ban applied to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL’s repertoire. Music licences can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the venue and audiences.

PPL spokesman Nazneen Nawaz said: "PPL is the UK-based music licensing company which licenses recorded music for broadcast, online and public performance use. Public performance licences are issued by PPL to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations from all sectors across the UK who play recorded music to their staff or customers and who therefore require a licence by law. These can range from bars, nightclubs, shops and hotels to offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and local authorities."