Nightclub owner defends venue in licence dispute

The yacht being towed to Gosport. Credit: GAFIRS

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THE owner of a nightclub has defended its reputation after it was shut down for a week following a violent attack.

Police called for a licence review of Scandals, in Hampshire Terrace, Southsea, when a man was hit over the head with a bottle inside the club last month.

The club's bosses agreed to suspend its licence for seven days and introduce new measures aimed at bolstering security.

It has taken on more door staff, upgraded its CCTV, banned glass bottles and no longer serves shots or undiluted spirits.

One of the doormen now wears a jacket with a camera attached to capture any incidents of violence.

Despite this, the nightclub still faces a licensing meeting next Wednesday where councillors could ask for a new manager to be put in place, suspend its licence for up to three months, or revoke the licence.

Club owner Noureddine Mansour defended his club ahead of the decision.

He criticised the police for taking action against him, while claiming bars in nearby Guildhall Walk which have similar incidents go unpunished.

He said: 'They punish us because we are small fish and they can't get the big fish.

'Scandals is the oldest nightclub in the city. We have a good reputation.'

Gary Clements was the manager of Scandals at the time of the incident.

He has since stepped down to become the head doorman.

Speaking to The News he also criticised police for their actions.

'They are too quick to blame the licencees for things,' he said.

'I'm not saying it's not a big issue.

'Someone got hurt, that means it is an issue.

'But I don't think it's right that the police blame licencees.

'I love Scandals. I love our reputation and I think the fact it is getting a bad name is wrong.

'I've worked at Scandals for 18 years and I have always prided my ability to look after my customers.'

Sergeant Wendie Douglas, of Portsmouth police, said: 'A licence review is not about placing blame but about reducing risk and improving public safety which is the responsibility of the licensee.

'Incidents like this are an opportunity for the police to assess the conditions of a licence and identify areas where the licensee can improve and do their best to prevent them happening again.

'It's good to see Scandals have responded to our concerns and have been pro-active in working with the police to improve their practices.'