A city snooker club has had its licence revoked following ‘wild and ferocious fighting’ that resulted in a 17-year-old being bottled.
Members of Portsmouth City Council’s licensing sub committee decided to close the troubled S2 Snooker Club in Kingston Road after the violent episode on November 12 last year which left a teenager with a laceration to the back of his head and needing treatment from paramedics.
More than 200 youngsters packed into the members only over-18s establishment in Fratton before the melee erupted at about 2am - around two hours before closing time.
Police demanded the city council revoke the licence after a series of incidents at the hotspot - including a fight where someone lost seven teeth, drug taking, threats to residents and anti-social behaviour.
PC Jason Pearce was withering in his assessment of the club and piled the pressure on committee members at the meeting by saying it would represent ‘a new low’ for the council if they did not revoke the licence.
‘We are seeking revocation of the licence as we feel there will be further offences, assaults and injuries. We did consider other options to put forward like cutting back the opening hours but decided this was inadequate with the track record of non-compliance of licensing requirements,’ he told members.
‘The latest incident involved a 17-year-old who suffered a serious head injury after he was struck with a bottle. This was completely avoidable had management complied with the authorities.’
After committee members were shown CCTV footage of the brawl, PC Pearce continued: ‘There was wild and ferocious fighting that was out of control with numerous assaults going on at the same time. Normally such fights would be stopped at other late night venues but there was a lack of security and management to control this outbreak.
‘There was only one security person present and no one from the club reported it to the police - we only found out after the friend’s victim rang an ambulance. The doormen and duty manager both said that no incident had occurred to police.
‘It’s apparent profit has been put before safety. There have been a lot of breaches resulting in this carnage. It’s made worse by the fact that the police and council have tried and tried to get them to comply but it seems the management is incapable of running a late night licence to a young age group.’
He added: ‘Allowing these premises to stay open to trade would set a new low in standards and would be colluding with a premise that is causing danger to young people.’
The view was shared by licensing manager Nickii Humphries, who told the meeting there had been various incidents at S2 but the owners had failed to address concerns in the past resulting in them considering legal proceedings over the licence breaches.
‘There have been a number of visits to the club and an increase in complaints including noise nuisance, substance misuse and plastic bags found outside, as well as residents being concerned for their safety,’ she said.
Licence holder Chin To Lam apologised for the trouble and explained that he had tried to comply with the measures. He said there had been a new doormen working that night who did not follow correct procedures.
‘We are very upset with what happened and the man getting hurt but we have tried to improve. We don’t want fights, we want normal people and took over the club for the Chinese community as somewhere for them to go after they finish work.
‘We have tried to get advice from the council about getting a restaurant licence but different departments in the council tell us different things.’
Other breaches by S2 included having under-age members, not using an intercom system, door staff failing to use body worn video recording devices, CCTV not having 31 days of storage capacity or being accurate, the venue exceeding 150 people and staff not receiving training twice a year.
Deputy city council solicitor Peter Baulf, reading out the committee’s decision, said: ‘Having considered all the evidence we don’t think Mr Lam will be able to comply with the measures and decide to revoke the licence with immediate affect.’