‘Drugs and weapons den’ Leeds pub is stripped of its licence

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A trouble hit Leeds pub which it was claimed had been used as a weapons and drugs den and a conduit for stolen goods has been temporarily stripped of its licence.

As previously reported in thee YEP, West Yorkshire Police had asked a decision-making Leeds City Council panel to review the premises licence of the George IV in Grove Road, Hunslet after laying out details of a catalogue of problems with crime and anti social behaviour over several years.

And now, after a hearing at Leeds Civic Hall, the panel has revoked the pub’s licence for three months, setting a variety of conditions before it is allowed to re-open.

These include the appointment of a new premises supervisor, and a caveat that either the supervisor or another senior manager must be present at all times during operating hours.

A full refurbishment of the building will now be carried out ahead of its anticipated re-opening.

Councillor Ryk Downes, who chaired the decision making licensing panel, said it was “last chance saloon” for the business.

He said he and colleagues on the panel had felt that a “closer control” of what happens could save a valuable community resource from permanent closure.

“It’s a community pub. If it’s run properly it will be an asset to the community,” he said.

He added the panel would much rather see the pub returned to community use than “take it away and leave it as a derelict building”.

“It needs someone to keep an eye on it,” he said. “Hopefully this will eliminate the crime element.”

A dossier of evidence presented to the panel had claimed “ineffective management, uncooperative staff colluding with aggressive customers, weapons and drugs recently being found on the premises causing serious concerns for children present at the time, and intelligence strongly suggesting regular resale of stolen goods to customers within”.

“[West Yorkshire Police] feel that there is no alternative but to ask the committee to give consideration to revoking the premises licence to prevent the commission of further serious offences and to protect both children and the public,” reports to the panel said.

The pub received its original trading licence in 2005. But, according to the evidence to the licensing panel, a chain of problems started a year later.

An “action plan” was previously agreed with managers at the pub to try and deal with ongoing issues and to “assume control” of the situation.

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