Brawls at Sheffield club ‘intimidated’ police

The Viper Rooms, Carver Street. Picture: Andrew Roe
The Viper Rooms, Carver Street. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A Sheffield night club’s licence has been reviewed after three people were stabbed at the venue in one night.

South Yorkshire Police requested a review of The Viper Rooms’ licence following reports of officers feeling ‘intimidated’ by ‘random acts of violence’ at the Carver Street premises.

A Sheffield Council licensing committee meeting yesterday heard a series of violent incidents were reported over a period of about two months. Most occurred on Tuesday nights.

A report to the meeting stated that on September 30, a man was arrested after three people were found with stab wounds upstairs. A man was found to be bleeding heavily from the hip, while a woman had to be taken to hospital by a member of staff.

Two weeks later, on October 14, police officers reported they felt ‘intimidated’ by ‘the random acts of violence’ after six different incidents.

Firstly, one man reportedly ‘kicked off,’ grabbed a woman by the hair and threw her to the floor – before punching her friend in the face when she tried to help.

Next, the report said a female member of staff was backhanded across the face by a man who had paid her unwanted attention earlier in the evening. He was arrested and charged with common assault. Another clubber reported she was assaulted and a drink was thrown in her face.

Then, a 20-year-old woman, who sustained a head injury after being glassed, was sent to hospital. And at 3.45am, a fight broke out on the street outside and police officers used a type of pepper spray to control a man who was ‘swinging punches and acting aggressively.’

Finally, on the same night, the police were notified a customer had a knife.

Viper Rooms was subsequently shut down the following Tuesday, but another woman was glassed the week after.

Club manager Paul Kinsey, who called himself a ‘pragmatic operator’ at the meeting, said he has taken action by introducing an internal door supervisor, increased security and body cameras for the outdoor staff. He said the premises has since turned away as many as 140 people in one night in order to get the ‘right quality of likeminded people’ to attend.

Drinks are now served in plastic glasses on Tuesdays, although Champagne bottles are allowed in the VIP areas as Paul said decanting the drink into a plastic jug would ‘kill the experience.’

The meeting heard after the changes were brought in, Insp Neil Mutch visited the venue and reported a ‘positive atmosphere,’ adding: “I’m pleased to say everything is in order.”

Licensing committee members have allowed The Viper Rooms to continue operating on the terms of its existing licence.