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Old Street bar licensees banned from their own venue after host of violent incidents

PUBLISHED: 14:50 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 18 July 2019

General view of Mother Bar at 333 Old Street in Hackney.

General view of Mother Bar at 333 Old Street in Hackney.

Vickie Flores/Archant

Two licensees have been banned from their own bar on Friday and Saturday nights after a host of violent incidents around closing time.

Police had called for Old Street's London Apprentice and Mother Bar, known as 33 Mother Bar, to be stripped of its licence over fights, poor search procedures and a lack of assistance for victims of crime.

But councillors on Hackney's licensing sub-committee said they would give bosses a chance to make changes.

Despite not being shut down, the club has announced it is closing for July due to "unforeseen circumstances". It had already been subject to two licence reviews and two action plans in the last decade over theft, drugs and violence.

It must now replace the designated premises supervisor (DPS), train staff quarterly, improve search procedures and employ "welfare officers".

Bizarrely, licensees Vicky Pengilley and Eric Lloyd will also be "excluded from the premises" from 9pm until closing time at weekends.

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The committee said: "The removal of the DPS and limiting the days the management in charge of the licence are on-site, is necessary to allow a new DPS to be brought in and given the opportunity to effectively manage the premises better and without undermining the licensing objectives."

A probe into the venue began after police arrested two boys, 15 and 17, following a fight outside the venue in January.

One was found with a 10-inch hunting knife, a stolen watch, a driving licence not in his name and 45 wraps of amphetamine and cocaine.

Police say CCTV showed three security guards leaving the venue as the fight started, pausing, and then carrying on. Another left and began filming the fight on his phone for "several minutes".

Pc Amanda Briggs said most incidents took place around closing time, and said assistance from door staff was "minimal" and victims often had to call 999 themselves.

"The venue lacks a clear strong management team that will ensure all licensing objectives are upheld," she said.

Police who began investigating the history of the venue found reports of the ID scanner not working on the night of a sexual assault, a clubgoer being punched in the head by door staff, multiple fights outside and one occasion where a female security guard was told by a colleague "not to get involved" in helping a drugged victim. Bouncers then refused to give the bar's postcode to the victim's friend who had called an ambulance.

Mother Bar has been contacted for comment.

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