Bar ‘under control of gangs’ could be shut down

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GANG-related violence at a city centre bar has led to senior police officers to call for the venue to be shut down.

The bar in West Street, Sheffield, which currently goes under the names Pinky’s or Amnesia, had its licence revoked by councillors earlier this month, after a request by South Yorkshire Police.

Supt Martin Hemingway told the licensing board at that meeting, on Thursday, March 1, that he was concerned that a “champagne night” two days later, featuring “urban” music acts from Sheffield and Manchester, would result in a “strong turnout of organised crime gang members” from both cities.

Mr Hemingway’s report said: “Intelligence has also been received to the effect that organised crime gang members are now effectively in control of the premises.

“It is the strong belief of South Yorkshire Police that, were the premises to continue to operate in the manner intended, that very serious crime and disorder would be the result.”

A decision as to whether the bar can reopen will be made at a Sheffield Council licensing board meeting on Tuesday.

Pinky’s, or Amnesia, was previously named Redstone and was the subject of a licensing review on December 30 last year.

At that time, police told Sheffield Council that the club “appeared to have become the resort for individuals known by police to be associated with organised crime groups” involved in “drug trafficking and the associated issues of violence, often involving weapons.”

They cited numerous incidents of violence, including one “minor dispute” between two women which escalated into an “all-out fight” between male gang members on West Street.

CCTV footage revealed that the “extreme level of violence over a minor matter was well displayed”, while staff were said to be “indifferent” and “in poor control.”

A licensing review hearing then took place at which owner Tony Wang said he would be reopening Redstone as a 90s themed bar .

As a result, licensing board members gave permission for the bar to reopen as Pinky’s, with a new designated premises supervisor and new conditions on the licence.

However, in February this year, police were then told that the bar would be renamed “Amnesia” and would again be featuring urban music. They then moved to remove the licence before the opening party on Saturday, March 3.

Mr Hemingway’s report says: “It is the contention of South Yorkshire Police that the undertakings made at the licensing board on December 30 have been broken to such an extent that no confidence can be placed in the owner of the premises.”

Amnesia could have its licence removed at next Tuesday’s meeting, or new conditions could be put upon the bar’s licence. Councillors could also choose to take no action.

Nobody from Amnesia, also known as Pinky’s, was available for comment yesterday.