Mass brawl, stabbing and drug dealing - now Sheffield bar could lose its licence for good

Empire Bar
Empire Bar
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DETAILS have emerged of fresh violence at a Sheffield bar which led to its closure by police - after a reveller was stabbed in the chest and a mass brawl between gangs which led to a man suffering ‘life changing injuries’ after being deliberately run over.

At one incident at Empire Bar, Charter Square, police had to tackle a melee at the bar armed with incapacitating spray and batons after bouncers abandoned their duties.

The revelations have been made in a report to Sheffield Council’s licensing board which is to review - and could permanently revoke - the venue’s licence on Thursday.

Empire Bar only reopened in February after its licence was suspended in January following incidents including a 17-year-old stabbed on Christmas Eve and drug dealing witnessed by undercover police.

A new premises supervisor, Nick Randle, of Hackenthorpe, was brought in and a series of conditions agreed including customers having to go through a metal detector and staff being told to co-operate with police.

But police said that in the last month, there had been 14 incidents at the premises, mostly assaults and public order incidents.

Supt Martin Hemingway, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “The current regime of proprietors, managers and licensees have shown no genuine willingness or ability to deal with a deteriorating situation despite considerable police activity and offers to ‘rebrand’ the premises to a different client group.

“The use of violence has mirrored the involvement of young men who are associated with gangs and organised crime at the premises.

“These premises are inadequately run and there is a danger to patrons and the public.”

Supt Hemingway described recent violent incidents over the Easter weekend.

In the first, he said: “A dispute between rival groups of men inside the premises had led to their being ejected and a melee forming at the entrance. One man is seen on CCTV turning to door staff and, lifting his jacket and shirt, apparently to show an injury to his chest before joining a group which became involved in a chase of other men from the premises, culminating in several fights.”

The second incident was in the early hours of Easter Monday. The senior officer said: “The disorder at the club involving rival groups of men appears to have led to the deliberate running down of a man using a motor vehicle on a nearby street, causing life-changing injuries.”

The police submissions are disputed by Mr Randle, the designated premises supervisor, who has said there have been ‘no incidents of serious violence inside the club’ since it reopened.

He has also claimed the new policies and procedures at the club make it ‘the safest venue in Sheffield’.

Neither Mr Randle or owner David Hezcko have submitted responses to the council about the police submissions.