Troubled pub could lose licence

A town centre pub plagued by brawls, under-age drinking and late-night noise will lose its licence unless it can satisfy police it has sorted out problems.

A town centre pub plagued by brawls, under-age drinking and late-night noise will lose its licence unless it can satisfy police it has sorted out problems.

The Bull in High Street, Watton, is due to have its licence to sell alcohol suspended until police and environmental health officers are happy it has implemented a raft of measures to tackle trouble.

The decision of Breckland Council's licensing sub-committee was taken yesterday after Norfolk police listed 36 misdemeanours at the pub over the past 16 months and said that from December last year until February this year it had the worst record for trouble of any pub in Breckland.

The incidents included a 13-year-old girl being found “very drunk” in the pub, drunken fights spilling into the street where people have been beaten unconscious, women being attacked and most recently, on April 28, a mass brawl outside the pub where three police officers were injured.

Sgt Kevin Jervis, who is heading up the town's safer neighbourhood team, said the pub had turned part of the High Street into a no-go area and the meeting heard there had been complaints about noise every week since the new year.

He said: “These premises are a haven for drunken and unruly behaviour, where assault and disorder have taken place with alarming frequency.

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“This area of the town is not safe and out of control due to the behaviour of this licensed premises.”

Chairman of the licensing committee Peter Francis said the council had not taken the decision to suspend the pub licence lightly, adding: “I regard the record of these premises as appalling.”

Steve Andrews, partner at pub owners Tenancy Taverns, blamed its troubled past on the previous manager Jacki Wood saying she had failed to tell licence holder Paul Walsh about the problems and had not implemented security measures such as lighting and alarm systems. But Mr Francis said Tenancy Taverns must share some of the blame.

The meeting heard Tenancy Taverns had met almost all the police recommendations to reduce trouble, having brought in a new manager, Wayne Clarke, introduced CCTV, installed new lighting and alarm systems, closing at 1am at the latest and using bouncers on the door last weekend.

The committee recommended the pub licence be suspended until Norfolk police and Breckland Council environmental health department were happy appropriate conditions to reduce trouble had been met. It said the pub must stop serving alcohol after 12.30am on Fridays and Saturday, can no longer hold live music or karaoke nights and must have bouncers on Fridays and Saturdays.

The suspension will come into effect 21 days after Mr Walsh has been informed in writing - unless he appeals the decision - in which case the suspension will be put on hold until after the appeal is heard.

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