Police close troubled Sheffield bar

Shut: Empire Bar, Charter Square.
Shut: Empire Bar, Charter Square.
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A CITY centre bar plagued by serious violence has been closed down by police after the stabbing of a reveller and a mass brawl nearby in the space of 48 hours.

Empire Bar in Charter Square was shut when police chiefs applied to Sheffield magistrates for an emergency closure order under the Licensing Act.

A man was stabbed in the chest on Friday night and a mass brawl erupted outside two days later.

Detectives are investigating both incidents - and also looking at the possibility a third had connections to the bar. A group of pedestrians was struck by a car at the junction of Fitzwilliam Gate and Cumberland Street, close to The Moor, at 3.05am on Monday.

A 20-year-old man suffered severe leg injuries and is still in hospital. A second man escaped with bruising and was discharged from hospital after a check-up.

Three men, all in their late 20s, were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following the collision and are now on bail.

Supt Martin Hemingway, who applied for the closure order on behalf of South Yorkshire Police, said: “We were granted an emergency closure order under the Licensing Act following a number of incidents over the weekend.

“The first involved a man who suffered a small wound to his chest, which is not life threatening. Three men were ejected from the bar and then we had a report a man had been stabbed.

“It could have happened in or outside the venue - we are still trawling through hours of CCTV.

“Later that same weekend there was a violent incident outside the bar. Police were called but everyone involved dispersed.

“A short time later there was a collision between a car and pedestrians nearby and we are looking at whether there is a connection between that incident and the earlier disturbance.”

He said the closure order should be seen as positive police action to keep people away from the venue and prevent further trouble. Sheffield Council will review the venue’s licence to decide whether it should reopen.

Empire Bar had its licence temporarily suspended in January after a series of incidents including a 17-year-old being stabbed on Christmas Eve and drug dealing witnessed by undercover police.

In December, during another review of the licence, police reported six incidents of concern including one man being stabbed in the back and another being stabbed five times.

Nicholas Randle, designated premises supervisor, said: “There have been no incidents of serious violence inside the club since we re-opened. The search policies and procedures at the club are second to none - making it the safest venue in Sheffield.”

He said it was unfair to link the venue with incidents outside and elsewhere in the city without “100 per cent proof and evidence”