Violent Portchester pub has its licence revoked as police step in

CRIME SCENE The Portsdown Inn after a fight on January 28
CRIME SCENE The Portsdown Inn after a fight on January 28

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A PUB has been ordered to close after police warned that someone would be killed there if it was allowed to remain open.

The Portsdown Inn had been allowed to develop a culture of late night lock-ins and violence, a meeting of Fareham Borough Council’s licensing panel heard.

Hampshire Constabulary called for the Portchester pub to have its licence reviewed following a fight there on January 28.

According to police reports used at the hearing, a man came to the Leith Avenue pub at about 2.30am with a baseball bat and began smashing windows. Landlady Julie Manns was holding a lock-in at the time, selling drinks illegally after hours. When the man began smashing windows, drinkers from the pub rushed out and attacked him, leaving him with ‘serious injuries’ including a broken leg and head injuries, the report said.

The panel was told that the lock-ins, which took place after the pub was supposed to close at midnight, were a regular occurrence.

There had also been five other serious incidents at the pub since 2010 involving a knuckle-duster, a stabbing, an attack with a glass, and a drinker having part of their ear bitten off this month.

Fareham licensing officer PC Jason Pearce said: ‘It’s fair to say the pub attracts a rough element and I’m probably putting that mildly. This is a pattern that can only lead to one thing, that’s that someone will be killed, and I don’t say that lightly – it’s a genuine concern.’

The panel agreed with police that the pub’s licence should be revoked and chairwoman Cllr Pam Bryant said: ‘The panel has very serious concerns regarding the nature and extent of these issues that have occurred at the premises.’

Police solicitor Roger Trencher said afterwards: ‘We are pleased with the result because we have taken the decision that this was a poorly-run pub. It vindicates the police’s view that this was such a mismanaged venue that there was no alternative but to revoke its licence.’

Owner Admiral Taverns has 21 days to appeal against the decision and the pub can remain open in the meantime. Mrs Manns declined to comment afterwards.

Poor management contributed to problems

POLICE told the licensing panel how trouble at the Portsdown Inn had worsened over the years.

Since 2009 the pub, which is owned by Admiral Taverns, has had five different designated premises supervisors, the latest being landlady Julie Manns.

Hampshire Constabulary claimed Admiral Taverns had allowed problems to continue through its management style.

But David Lucas, representing Admiral, said this was down to its ‘tenant’ management approach, which gave more freedom to individual premises supervisors.

Licensing officer PC Jason Pearce said: ‘There are three strands to this – poor local management, poor company management and an extremely violent customer base.’

He also said there had been several occasions where violent incidents were not reported to the police and only emerged later.

Giving evidence, force solicitor Roger Trencher said: ‘The establishment is out of control and it’s not acceptable for the people of Fareham and for the stretched resources of Hampshire Constabulary to have to deal with this establishment.’

He added after the licensing hearing: ‘We hope in the future that a licensee will come forward who can run this establishment in a way that’s in the interests of the people of Fareham.’