Barnsley town centre bar has licence revoked after police allege “15 and 16 year olds” visited
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South Yorkshire Police submitted an application to the council to review Sugar Club’s premises licence after they received a complaint alleging there were a “number of under-age people drinking” in the bar in January.
Following the complaint, police officers attended the premises, on Pitt Street, and “confronted” four customers who “admitted to being 15 and 16”.
Police also received a report in April that a male had been “punched in his eye”, requiring hospital treatment, and a further report in the same month after a customer alleged he was “grabbed by the throat and called a name which he believed to be homophobic.”
In May, further licence conditions were agreed, and further visits through May and June found “all in order”.
A police statement in the licence review application read: “Since January 2022 and the concerns being brought to our attention about the premise, there have been 31 telephone conversations connected with the venue, 61 visits conducted as part of street safe, and 15 visits completed by licensing officers.
“SYP feels that the Sugar Club…have failed to alleviate our concerns in connection with prevention of crime and disorder and protection of children from harm. Therefore SYP feel we have no alternative but to seek revocation of this licence.”
During yesterday’s (December 19) statutory licensing regulatory board sub-committee meeting, Ashley Stockton, director of Sugar Events LTD, said the venue had been “subject to other bar’s hearsay towards us,” adding that police visits to the club had “absolutely crippled” his business.
“I diagree there’ss been countless breaches. There’s absolutly no evidence on some of your points.”
Anna Harper, designated premises supervisor, asked why the venue was being “targeted”, adding: “there was no way I would allow anyone underage to go there.”
Mrs Harper told the meeting that some of the police’s claims were “unfounded”, adding that since she bagn working at he venue in August, she had run a “tight ship”.
In their evidence, Mr Stockton and Mrs Harper stated: “We are starting to suspect…that other venues are the ‘source of this information’ and are adamant they are going to close The Sugar Club down for having underage persons for their own benefit.
“The male who was punched in the eye had been assaulted in [another venue].
“He then came to The Sugar Club where we administered first aid treatment.
Mr Stockton said in a written statement that “no other venues but my own in Barnsley town centre are subject to this kind of ‘harassment’ on a weekly basis”.
Mrs Harper’s statement added: “I have worked hard to run this club and any negative comments towards it I have taken as a personal insult.
“We are both honest and hardworking people and we don’t deserve any of this – it does feel like a witch hunt even if it isn’t.”
Kirsty Green, licensing enforcement officer for South Yorkshire Police, told the hearing that “if everything was in order, we would have no reason to visit the premises.
“There doesn’t seem to be any accountability. I don’t feel they’re being harassed at all.
“I pride myself on the fact that I am not biased in any way.”
Ms Green added that he premises had been treated “no differently to any other venue.”
Inspector Kieran Frain told the meeting that visits to venues are made as part of the force’s street safe initiative, a joint partnership to keep revellers safe in the night-time economy.
Insp Frain added that officers on foot patrol will stop at venue’s doors to speak to door staff and ensure there are no issues or concerns.
He told the meeting that “This is in no way harassment of a venue.”
The board made the decision to revoke the license, stating that evidence indicated breaches of licensing conditions had occurred.
The venue has the right to appeal the decision before a magistrates court.