Violence forces city club to close

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A SHEFFIELD club where a man almost had his ear sliced off and was stabbed in the neck has been forced to close over police concerns at levels of violence.

Fontana, based on Attercliffe Road, Attercliffe, had its licence reviewed by Sheffield Council’s licensing sub committee after police compiled a dossier of evidence.

It detailed a series of violent incidents, including one where a man was allegedly attacked by a gang of men in the toilets and was left with his ear “hanging off”.

Chief Superintendent Andy Barrs said in the document the victim was also stabbed in his neck in the incident last October.

He also detailed another incident on January 21 where officers were told by the ambulance service they had treated a man who had been “assaulted by a gang with weapons” in the venue.

A knife and knuckle duster were said to have been used in the attack.

And a report prepared by Chief Inspector Iain Chorlton also details a catalogue of incidents police were called out to deal with, including a report of up to 60 people brawling on the car park outside, an attack which left a man with a broken jaw.

He said in his report: “I am of the opinion there is insufficient door staff at the premises.

“The management are uncooperative and show disregard for licensing conditions and are failing to meet licensing objectives in particular the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety.

“The business activities at these premises are requiring a significant number of policing resources that are of a premium in tackling crime and disorder issues in the local community and diminish the ability of the police to promote public safety.

“There is evidence of a gang culture and concerns are that if firm action is not taken against the premises then it is only a matter of time before someone suffers life changing injuries or worse.”

Coun Clive Skelton, chairman of Sheffield Council’s licensing sub committee, said: “We revoked the club’s licence because the evidence presented by the police was so compelling - it was the only option available to us based on what we heard if we are to keep the people of Sheffield safe.

“There was compelling evidence of knives and other weapons being taken on to the premises.

“The evidence was frightening - even the police in their presentation of the facts said they had never had a case where they were so concerned that a murder could be committed on a premises.

“One of the problems is that the premises are pitch black inside so nothing gets picked up on CCTV.

“Door procedures also do not appear to have been followed correctly because even though there is a knife arch there is evidence of knives and knuckle dusters for example getting through.”

The club management can appeal the decision.