Violent pub branded the ‘Wild West’ of Paulsgrove loses licence

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The waterfront of Gosport.

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  • Attacks and assaults raise ‘serious concerns’ with council
  • The Cross Keys has had its licence temporarily suspended for a month
  • Site will remain closed until improvements are made
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A PUB with a violent reputation, leading to one councillor branding it the ‘Wild West’ of Paulsgrove, has had its licence suspended.

Portsmouth City Council’s licensing sub-committee took the drastic move to temporarily close The Cross Keys, in Birdlip Road, yesterday morning.

Surely somebody within the organisation must have picked up on the fact that serious goings-on, akin to the Wild West, were happening in this pub?

Councillor Ken Ellcome

It comes after concerns were raised by Hampshire Constabulary over a recent surge of violent offences at the pub – which is the last one in Paulsgrove.

The latest assault, on May 26, saw a man being left with a broken leg after being viciously attacked with a glass.

During the meeting at Portsmouth Guildhall, PC Pete Rackham said the licensing objectives at the pub had been ‘seriously undermined’ by the ‘ineffective management’ of the site’s supervisor – Stephen Greaves.

Mr Greaves has since been sacked and removed from The Cross Keys by Hawthorn Leisure Limited, the company that holds the venue’s licence.

Councillors quizzed Troy Bett, area manager of the London-based firm, over why action had not been taken sooner.

Mr Bett admitted he had ‘not been aware’ of the violent assaults and poor management.

But councillor Ken Ellcome said: ‘These are serious issues – broken bones, damage to faces etcetera. Are you seriously telling me that nobody from the area management upwards knew any of these things were happening?

‘Surely somebody within the organisation must have picked up on the fact that serious goings-on, akin to the Wild West, were happening in this pub?’

Mr Bett said he was reliant on pub supervisors informing him about any issues.

‘If they don’t tell us, we’re left a little in the dark,’ he added.

The pub shut on Tuesday.

Its suspension will last a month while new CCTV is fitted.

Mr Bett promised new management, CCTV and training would help to improve The Cross Keys.