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The Hammer and Tongs pub facing three-month closure
12:50pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in Local
DRUNKEN fights, unsupervised staff and a doorman paid in beer are just some of the problems listed in a scathing report on a Basingstoke pub.
The police are seeking a three-month closure order on The Hammer and Tongs pub, in Old Worting Road, South Ham. Their report to a borough licensing sub-committee catalogues the failings they want the pub’s owners – Enterprise Inns – to tackle. The problems include:
- A manager allegedly stealing £3,000 from fruit machines before disappearing in October last year.
- Customers leaving the pub drunk, and urinating and damaging nearby gardens.
- In February this year, a customer was attacked in the pub’s car park by three others, receiving serious injuries. The victim had drunk nine pints, a bottle and six cans of lager. When the police asked for CCTV footage of the incident they were told nobody could work the system, which is required under the licence. They seized the equipment as evidence.
- A week later, when a woman was attacked in the pub, the CCTV equipment had not been replaced.
- When borough council licensing officers and police called on February 24, they found many irregularities including evidence that a man was being “paid in beer” to act as door supervisor.
- The glasses were not of the required toughened type, and CCTV had still not been installed.
- Neighbours reported noise nuisance from the pub at night including unauthorised discos.
- Although the designated premises supervisor and her husband agreed to a three-month action plan in March this year, officers found evidence of cocaine use in the premises’ customer toilets later that month.
- In June this year, the designated premises supervisor was cautioned for authorising sale of alcohol to two 16-year-olds in a test purchase.
In the report, Basingstoke police’s licensing officer PC Claire Wanless says Enterprise Inns have failed to send anyone to attend some of the meetings “to discuss the severity of the issues”. She concludes: “The police cannot ignore the serious ongoing breaches in the premises licence.”
In a parallel report, Sheila Stevens, the borough council’s own licensing officer, said those responsible for the licence were not doing enough to ensure customers’ safety.
The sub-committee, which was due to hear evidence yesterday on October 1, has the power to alter the Hammer and Tongs licence conditions, but can also suspend the licence or close the pub permanently. The pub has been voluntarily shut since September 3.
See Thursday's Gazette for the result of the sub-committee meeting.