Norwich nightclub boss closes venue after World Cup incident

Ryan Warren, 18, has undergone an operation to reattach the retina in his left eye after being hit with a glass bottle. Ryan Warren, 18, has undergone an operation to reattach the retina in his left eye after being hit with a glass bottle.

Nick Charity
Sunday, June 22, 2014
10:14 AM

The boss of one of Norwich’s biggest nightclubs has claimed he was forced to close because it was “unprofitable” and he was subjected to over-reaction from police.

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Wonderland Norwich on Riverside announced on its Facebook page on Wednesday that it would be “closed until further notice”.

The move came just a few days after Ryan Warren, 18, was badly injured in his left eye after being hit with a glass bottle at the club on Saturday night during the 2-1 defeat to Italy.

Club chief executive Steve Thomas claimed police were attempting to put unfair restrictions on the club licence, something the force denies.

Mr Thomas, who says the club employed 30 people, said: “The club is not profitable, so I’ve been supporting it personally. It has not been troublesome, but we pulled some levers on Saturday to market the World Cup coverage, and there were some violent repercussions that we are not comfortable with.

“What the police wanted to do was an over-reaction. Bearing in mind this is the first incident we’ve ever had, they were trying to put restrictions on our licence.

“We’ve never had trouble before and considering what happens in other clubs, I thought that was unfair and aggressive.”

However, Inspector Ed Brown, from Norfolk Constabulary’s licensing department, said: “The police reaction is appropriate in the circumstances because an 18-year-old lad has had a significant injury that may result in him losing his sight.

“It is entirely appropriate that police should be making sure the venue doesn’t 
make those same mistakes again.

“Everything else we’ve done is standard licensing.

“We’ve not asked them to close or to suspend their licence. Whether they stay closed or not, I don’t know, but that’s not down to police licensing intervention.“

Mr Warren has been told he will need further operations and might not regain sight in the injured eye following the assault.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident in which Mr Warren received his injury. It is believed to have happened in the aftermath of England’s equaliser on Saturday.

It is understood beer was being sold in glass bottles rather than plastic ones.

The nightclub has had several different owners in recent years.

Anyone with information about the assault should call DC Graham Kett at Norwich CID on 101.

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