'It is only a matter of time before there is a fatality': Leeds bar could lose license after three stabbings

A bar in Leeds could have its licence revoked after West Yorkshire Police raised serious concerns following three stabbings in just four months.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 11:36 am
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 11:39 am

Sports Bar & Restaurant in Harehills, formerly known as Shaftsbury Pool Centre, is under scrutiny by Leeds Council following a damning report from police.

West Yorkshire Police said it is "only a matter of time" before there is a fatality at the venue, which they believe is associated with serious crime and violence.

Officers called the frequency of knife attacks in the bar "frightening" and identified that staff had failed to deal with violent customers.

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Sports Bar & Restaurant - formerly known as Shaftsbury Pool Centre - on Harehills Lane could have its licence revoked following three stabbings (Photo: Google)

They also suspect staff to have covered up crime scenes against the orders of officers.

The police have applied to Leeds Council for the bar's license to be revoked to protect public safety, which will be discussed at a Licensing Sub-Committee meeting on Tuesday, December 17.

There have been three stabbings at Sports Bar & Restaurant since July, all of which inflicted serious injuries.

July 13: Person stabbed in buttocks and arm with rusty knife

West Yorkshire Police have applied for the bar's licence to be revoked amid public safety fears

At 5.30am, when the venue is licensed to close, a person had an argument with a female suspect - who witnesses claim works at the venue.

The argument escalated and the female punched and kicked the victim outside the venue, before calling a male suspect on the phone.

The male arrived and confronted the victim on the stairs within the venue entrance, before stabbing the victim multiple times to the buttocks and the arm with a small, rusty coloured knife.

The suspect also slashed at the victim's chest and back.

The victim sustained serious injuries including nerve damage and required two blood transfusions.

Police officers who attended the scene said they arrived to a hostile crowd refusing to assist or move from outside the venue.

Officers were then confronted by an abusive and obstructive worker who attempted to clean up the crime scene despite police orders not to touch it.

October 27: Man slashed with large kitchen knife and staff arrested for obstructing police

At 5.30am a man went into the toilets where he was followed by the suspect. The suspect started shouting at the victim and pulled out a large kitchen knife, attempting to stab the victim in the neck.

The victim grabbed the blade causing a deep gash to his hand, which may have caused nerve damage.

When officers arrived to the venue it was closed and police suspected that staff knew what had happened and were attempting to clean the crime scene.

Officers eventually gained access, found the scene was partially cleaned and arrested two members of staff for obstructing police.

One of those arrested is the venue's Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) and the other was also working at the venue, possibly as a cleaner. The cleaner was also arrested for possession of drugs in custody.

November 9: Two men seen 'slashing at each other' in the street

At 3.45am two men were involved in an argument outside the venue before one man took out a sharp object and slashed the other man to the head. The victim sustained serious injuries.

The victim then took out a Stanley knife and both men started swinging and slashing at each other in the street outside the venue as people looked on.

Police say knife crime is 'normalised' at the venue amid public safety fears

West Yorkshire Police gave a damning report of Sports Bar & Restaurant in an application to Leeds Council for a licensing review.

Officers said there was a "normalisation" for carrying a knife or blade among the venue's customers and called the frequency of knife attacks in the bar "frightening".

The letter read: "Knife crime is a concern nationally and the sheer number of knife related assaults at this venue in a short amount of time, shows a normalisation by the clientele for carrying a weapon.

"These incidents would be a rarity in most venues, but the frequency they are taking place here is frightening. It is only a matter of time before there is a fatality."

West Yorkshire Police also raised serious concerns about security staff at the venue and their inability to control violent customers.

The report added: "West Yorkshire Police have no faith that the staff have the attitude, or strength to deal with the clientele the venue attracts, who have a propensity towards violence and a sheer lack of regard for the rule of law.

"I suspect the patrons are the ones who are in control, and not the DPS.

"West Yorkshire Police have no faith that while these premises are open and operating that public safety can be maintained and would ask the Licensing Sub-Committee to consider immediate suspension of the premises licence until the Review proper."

Sports Bar & Restaurant is currently licensed to open from 11am until 3.30am from Monday to Wednesday and 11am to 5.30am on Thursday to Sunday.

Leeds Council will review the premises licence held by owner Salman Haydaran at the Licensing Sub-Committee meeting on Tuesday, December 17.