Mansfield drug pub has licence suspended

A town centre pub has had its licence suspended for two months after Councillors were presented with a damning dossier detailing a history of drug activity and violence at the premises.

Mansfield District Council licensing panel took the decision to suspend the licence of the Crown and Anchor pub on Queen Street, Mansfield, at a hearing held today (24 May) following an application for review made by Nottinghamshire Police.

The pub has been closed since 27th April when the Police executed a warrant to search the premises in response to intelligence from the community and ongoing complaints about suspected illegal activity on the premises.

Then on 1 May 2013, an emergency hearing of Mansfield District Council’s Licencing Panel was called where members granted an interim suspension of the pub’s licence with immediate effect. The interim suspension was imposed pending today’s full hearing.

Today the Panel imposed a further five week suspension, took the decision to remove the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) and imposed conditions on the licence. The interim steps will continue for a further three weeks (during the appeal period) following which the five week suspension will come into force.

The permanent modifications of the licence, once it is reinstated, include:

-The installation of CCTV both inside and outside of the premises

-The introduction of a drugs policy and the Challenge 25 scheme

-The provision of SIA registered door staff

-Not to have a designated smoking area to the front of the premises

-No unaccompanied children to be allowed on the premises and no children allow after 8pm

-Training in the sale of alcohol to be given to all staff and regularly reviewed

-Notices to be displayed stating drug searches may be carried out

Police evidence showed over the past two years there had been a number of reports of drug use and the dealing of controlled substances at the premises. There had also been incidents of violence.

The Licensing Panel was told the premises, which is owned by pub retailer and brewer Greene King, was managed through a tenancy agreement where the tenant rents the premises from Greene King.

A Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) had been employed by the tenant to take responsibility of the day-to-day running of the pub.

Both the tenant and the DPS have had their contracts terminated and are no longer associated with the Crown and Anchor pub and/or Greene King.

Coun John Smart, the Chairman of Licensing at Mansfield District Council who chaired the Panel hearing, said: “The evidence was a damning indictment of the way Crown and Anchor was being run and the licensing panel had no option but to suspend the licence.

“Working in partnership with licensees and the police, we have led the way in numerous initiatives which have made Mansfield a better, safer place in which to enjoy an evening out. We are not prepared to put that progress in jeopardy.

“We are, however, satisfied that Greene King has already taken steps to address the issues associated with the premises and have made a commitment to put significant measures in place to ensure the premises will be robustly managed and operated in a safe and satisfactory manner when it reopens. This will, of course, be very closely monitored by both ourselves and the police.”

Neil Williams, Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for Mansfield South, who led the operation, said: “Until we are satisfied that the Crown and Anchor pub is operating legally and safely we will continue to ask that their licence is suspended.

“Working to ensure that the public is kept safe is our priority and we need to make sure that those who visit our town centre can do so safely and without fear of criminal behaviour.

“The vast majority of licensed traders in Mansfield act responsibly and we would be letting them down if we didn’t tackle the irresponsible minority with robust action.

“We have worked with our partners and the local community and will continue to do so.”