Hearing to decide fate of trouble-hit Sheffield bar

The Players Lounge,Yew Lane, Ecclesfield
The Players Lounge,Yew Lane, Ecclesfield
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A BAR is having its licence reviewed by Sheffield Council after reports of fighting, under-age drinking and signs of drug taking in toilets, while the premises supervisor was abusive to police.

Players Lounge, on Yew Lane, Ecclesfield, was temporary closed over breaches of its licence conditions for two days in February, although it was allowed to reopen and has passed recent police test purchasing operations where volunteers under 18 are sent in to attempt to buy alcohol while underage.

Incidents of concern occurred from last year and police say they want the premises’ licence to be reviewed on the grounds of preventing crime, disorder and public nuisance and protecting children from harm.

Three police officers, a police community support officer and three residents have given evidence for the hearing, at Sheffield Town Hall on Tuesday, from 10am.

Sgt Gayle Kirby, based at Ecclesfield Police Station, told police records showed the first incident of concern was a report of rowdy people exiting the club one night in June last year, causing noise and damaging fences at people’s homes.

Police records show 16 callouts to the premises in 15 months, mostly to reports of drunken and rowdy groups exiting the premises but also fighting with weapons including bottles.

In one fight in the early hours of New Year’s Day, up to 50 people were outside and a man was knocked unconscious.

Sgt Kirby said she visited the premises in February and spoke to a member of staff who was ‘unaware’ of licensing conditions and said they had ‘not undertaken any training’.

She issued a closure notice and contacted designated premises supervisor, Keith Johnstone, of Stannington, who she said was ‘aggressive and rude and slammed the phone down’ after asking her to attend his venue to meet him.

Sgt Kirby visited the premises with another officer, where Mr Johnstone was ‘abrupt and would not listen’ - then asked her to leave.

The closure was lifted two days later after assurances were given.

But there have since been three further incidents at Players, including an assault on a 17-year-old girl.

A police check of toilets found evidence of drug use.