Wisbech pub loses weekend late licence after committee hears most trouble occurs after 1am

A WISBECH pub accused by police of inciting violence and serving drunks has lost its late licence.

A WISBECH pub accused by police of inciting violence and serving drunks has lost its late licence.

Fenland District Council Licensing Committee altered the closing times for the Kings Head in Old Market, Wisbech, following a hearing today.

The committee's findings threw up a difference in approach by police after it was revealed that some officers were pressing for the pub operator's licence to be revoked.

A statement issued afterwards said that committee accepted most of the problems occurred after 1am and to this end accepted sector commander Inspector Andy Sullivan's idea to curb opening times.

'To this end we feel that Inspector Sullivan's request to reduce the hours rather than his senior management's request to revoke the licence is reasonable,' said the statement.

Residents produced evidence of the late night disorder and CCTV operatives pointed out many instances of disturbances near the Kings Head.

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Until now the pub has been able to open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays but Sgt Dave Bax of Wisbech Police said this meant people left other pubs to head to Old Market for a late drink.

'The Kings Head is accepting these persons who are in varying states of intoxication and there appears to be little or no control of the entry and management of these persons,' he says.

'The settled clientele then mix with the newcomers and this often leads to fights and violence.'

Sgt Bax claimed management allowed drunken behaviour outside which led to noise and disturbance to residents.

'There have been numerous incidents of violence and disorder associated with the premises over a number of years,' he says. He said there were 18 incidents of violence and nuisance/rowdy behaviour since last Christmas.

The Kings Head was acting 'as the last drink saloon with intoxicated persons making their way to it to continue drinking. The mix of settled clientele and intoxicated persons from other premises causes a flash point of violence, disorder and nuisance.'

Sector commander Insp Andy Sullivan said he has met twice this year with the pub's owners, Elgoods, and the landlord Aigars Balsevics together with licensing officer Kim Winterton.

Insp Sullivan said he couldn't understand why Elgoods, having agreed to voluntarily close at 1am then reverted back to their original operating hours.

He said an action plan agreed between all sides 'initially seemed to have worked however over the past few weeks matters have deteriorated and this has caused a review of the licence to be called as a last resort.'

A series of other measures including managers being on site, CCTV and security staff recruitment were also included into the licence.