Pub’s licence reviewed after police complaints

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: the Red Lion.
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: the Red Lion.

A TOWN centre pub is having its licence reviewed after police claimed a number of incidents of violence and disorder – including possession of taser-style weapons – had taken place.

But the prospective new licensee and current head doorman of The Red Lion pub, in Burnhope Way, Peterlee, says there has only been one incident in the past six months, with others happening under previous management.

Peterlee Police posted on their Facebook page that the pub had “voluntarily closed down following an incident at the weekend” and that the “license is being reviewed”.

Detective Inspector Dave Cuthbert, of Peterlee Police, said two men aged 38 and 40 were arrested on suspicion of possessing a prohibited weapon, after a “scuffle” in the vicinity of the pub, around 2.20am on Saturday.

Det Insp Cuthbert said officers found what looked like a taser gun, with two prongs, he says disguised as a mobile phone.

The device has been sent off for testing.

Sergeant Tim Robson, from Durham Police’s licensing unit, said a review of the pub’s license is going ahead, “subject to the fact that there have been a number of incidents of disorder and violence at the premises which have resulted in some serious injuries, we believe attributed to the management of the premises and the style of operation”.

Dave Robinson, head doorman at the pub, hopes to take over the licence of the Camerons Brewery pub, subject to negotiation with the Hartlepool-based chain.

He said: “Because of rowdiness outside, we closed the pub down at normal time on Saturday morning.”

He said there was a “melee” of 15 to 20 people outside and a customer shouted that someone had a taser gun.

But the next night regulars were in the pub showing each other a phone application which can make mobiles look like tasers.

Regarding the licence review, he said: “They are trying to make out that we’re like a Wild West cowboy saloon, but the last incident was last November, and it’s now May, the bit of rowdiness wasn’t actually from the Red Lion.

“The Red Lion is a comfortable, safe place, but this statement from the police has completely killed the business.”

He said an incident involving doorstaff took place in March last year under different management and an incident where a man was knocked unconscious happened in November away from the premises.

Geoff Cowley, from Camerons Brewery, said the pub was voluntarily closed down after staff reported a taser incident to the police and is co-operating with police as part of the review.

The firm decided to keep the pub closed for a refurbishment and subject to negotiation, will re-open next Wednesday with Mr Robinson as licensee.