Troubled bar closes as owners cease trading

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A TROUBLED bar shut down by police after being plagued by gang violence is set to remain closed for good - after its owner ceased trading.

Sheffield Council’s licensing board was last week due to review Empire Bar’s premises licence after police used emergency powers to shut the venue following the stabbing of a reveller and a mass brawl nearby in the space of 48 hours.

The hearing, due to take place last Thursday, was postponed without any reason being made public.

But former licensing board chairman, Coun Clive Skelton, who is still a member of the committee, said: “H and J Management, the company registered as owning the premises, has now ceased trading, so the bar is not going to reopen and the review hearing no longer needs to take place.”

Empire Bar, in Charter Square, was shut when police chiefs applied to Sheffield magistrates for an emergency closure order under the Licensing Act.

A man was stabbed in the chest on Good Friday night and a mass brawl erupted outside two days later.

Detectives are investigating both incidents - and also looking at the possibility a third had connections to the bar.

A group of pedestrians was struck by a car at the junction of Fitzwilliam Gate and Cumberland Street, close to The Moor, on Easter Monday.

A 20-year-old man suffered severe leg injuries and is still in hospital. A second man escaped with bruising and was discharged from hospital after a check-up.

Three men, all in their late 20s, were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following the collision and are now on bail.

Empire Bar had its licence temporarily suspended in January after a series of incidents including a 17-year-old being stabbed on Christmas Eve and drug dealing witnessed by undercover police.

In December, during another review of the licence, police reported six incidents of concern including one man being stabbed in the back and another being stabbed five times.

When the emergency closure was made, Nicholas Randle, designated premises supervisor appointed by H and J Management’s owner David Hezcko, said: “There have been no incidents of serious violence inside the club since we re-opened. The search policies and procedures at the club are second to none - making it the safest venue in Sheffield.”