Mass brawl at London Road venue involved 100 people

The new Yankee Lounge venue on London Road. A brawl involving 100 people took place at the premises in March prior to it becoming the Yankee Lounge in May.
The new Yankee Lounge venue on London Road. A brawl involving 100 people took place at the premises in March prior to it becoming the Yankee Lounge in May.
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Around 100 people were involved in a mass brawl at a London Road venue involving glasses being thrown and people wielding a knife and a gun.

Details have been revealed as part of a review of the Yankee Lounge - a bar that has been set up in the former premises of the Turkuaz Bar and Grill restaurant.

Reports from the police to next week’s council meeting suggested between 80 and 100 people were involved in fighting at the venue in March at an Afro-Carribbean event, prior to it being launched as the Yankee Lounge in May.

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Acting Police Sergeant Samantha Cooper said: “At 2.25am on Monday, March 27, I was a police sergeant on duty when numerous calls were received regarding a large disturbance at the premises.

“One male stated that someone was trying to kill him and a further call from a member of staff stated that 80 to 100 people were fighting and were using glass bottles and a knife.

“Upon arrival at the premises, officers were confronted by a large group of people in the street, who were exiting the club down a staircase at the side.

“I attended at the location and would describe the group as very agitated and uncooperative.

“Upon entering the premises which was initially difficult due to the large number of people exiting down the staircase, I spoke with staff who stated ‘things had just got out of hand’ and they were now closing.

“The club was nearly empty and no complaints were made by any person present.

“Information has also been received that on March 27 following this event after the restaurant had closed, in the early hours of the morning a customer from the premises was seen carrying a gun. Although this information has not been corroborated, it has however obviously led to increased concerns within the community.”

Cheryl Topham, from the South Yorkshire Police licensing team, said that in April 2016 the authorities were told the premises was proposing to operate as a late bar rather than a restaurant.

She said when she attended a meeting at the premises in May 2016 with other police and council official, they had a ‘complete surprise’ that the building had already been refurbished as a nightclub.

“The refurbishment had gone ahead without any discussions with responsible authorities in relation to building regulations, licensing and planning,” she said.

She said a new investor in the bar was told ‘the type of music events he was advertising were likely to attract a certain clientele which had a potential for disorder, attracting gang members with weapons and drugs’.

She said the original opening night of May 7 was cancelled, with the bar told it may be able to hold another event on May 29 if it met a number of licensing conditions and got the agreement of the authorities.

In June, it was brought to her attention that the club was now opening for events despite the authorities not being consulted.

Concerns were raised in her report that subsequent visits to the bar had revealed an inadequate CCTV system, which could only be checked by climbing a ladder into the loft.

A report going to councillors next Tuesday said a review of the premises licence has been requested by the Health Protection Service on the grounds of ‘public safety’.

It said options available to councillors include revoking or suspending the licence.

Sgt Cooper said: “I am becomingly increasingly concerned that the licence holder is not properly managing the events.

“Should a serious incident take place at the premises, my concerns for officers attending are that they do not have suitable provisions for health and safety measures in place that would allow medical staff to enter the premises and deal appropriately.”

No one from the club was available for comment.