On 31st May the Council’s licensing board revoked the Gower Arms’ license and an appeal has been adjourned until September. Although the pub could be allowed to open during the appeal, the police have asked for it to remain closed because they believe there is risk of a ‘serious disorder incident’.
Strict licensing conditions were imposed on the pub in January this year, including an order to upgrade the CCTV system, ban children, enforce a stringent search policy, employ weekend security staff and stop people congregating outside.
Sergeant Simon Leake from the Burngreave Safer Neighbourhood policing team said that these conditions had been breached. A series of incidents were reported at the license review including failures to search people, and drugs recovered from four men in the pub.
Landlord Vernon Solomon said he could not take responsibility for his customers’ activities, and that he asked the security agency not to send doormen who failed to search people. He felt that he had complied with all the conditions and spent thousands upgrading the CCTV, rewiring, improving toilets and employing doormen. He told the Messenger:
“The police claim they have seen known gun men going into the pub, that they shot Gerald Smith years ago. I found out that those men are in prison and when asked if they would provide photos so I could bar them, they said it was a mistake.”
“They also said there had been an incident when 9 gun shots were fired, but we looked everywhere, in and around the pub, but we could find no evidence of empty shells or bullet holes.”
Sergeant Leake said:
“The community wants us to take action against drugs and antisocial behaviour. This is not personal against Mr Solomon, we are already targeting other premises with the aim of reducing crime.”
With a further hearing as we go to press and an appeal in September, it’s uncertain how long the Gower will be closed or if it will open again.