Pub licence is kept despite police fears

A CONVICTED killer’s mother and sister yesterday kept their County Durham pub licence despite police asking licensing bosses to remove it.

A CONVICTED killer’s mother and sister yesterday kept their County Durham pub licence despite police asking licensing bosses to remove it.

Maurice Rowell, 27, was jailed for six years for the manslaughter of Stephen Wilson following a fight over football outside his mother and sister’s pub, the Beehive in Bishop Auckland last August. Yesterday his mother Linda and sister Rachel successfully persuaded licensing bosses at Durham County Council to keep their licences despite Durham Police claiming the venue in Belvedere Road, had a history of violence.

But hours have been cut. The Beehive can now only sell drink between 11am and 10.30pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am to 11.30pm Friday to Saturday.

The Rowells were told they must adopt a challenge 25 scheme and door staff are to monitor the external doors and no one under 18 is permitted after 9pm.

The premises licence holder also has to be present when open for the sale of alcohol and there are amendments being made to their conditions relating to CCTV, a refusals register and training records.

Sgt Tim Robson told Durham County Council’s licensing committee there were 17 recorded assaults in the past 18 months believed to be linked to the Beehive.

Despite operating an under-21 challenge scheme, calling on staff to ask drinkers’ ages if they look younger than 21, Sgt Robson said bar staff had been caught out in test purchases selling booze to two 15-year-olds.

When police carried out follow-up visits to the pub they recorded seeing staff selling alcohol to under-age drinkers and drunk teenagers at a 16th birthday being held in the function room.

Speaking to the committee, chaired by Coun Linda Marshall, Sgt Robson said: “There are 17 assaults the police attribute to the venue, nine inside and the rest outside the property. In our view the evidence shows this premises allows a level of violence which results in serious injury.” Included in the incidents was a man being hit on the head with a handsaw following a large-scale disturbance.

Customers have suffered injuries including broken noses, head wounds and eye injuries, with threats also made to burn down the pub. But Linda Rowell argued the family were being victimised by police since the assault involving her son and that some of the disturbances in the car park outside the pub had nothing to do with the Beehive. At the start of the meeting, held at the council offices in Spennymoor, committee members read letters from Beehive patrons supporting the mother and daughter.

Linda Rowell said: “A lot of these incidents are being put down to the Beehive when they have got nothing to do with the Beehive.”

 
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