Teens party bar may be shut down

A BAR which was caught serving alcohol to children as young as 14 could be closed down.

Officers have applied to review the licence of Bar Mix in Eldon Street, Barnsley, after being forced to break up a 16th birthday party at which a large group of teenagers were drinking.

Police stopped the party, which was being held by a Penistone Grammar Student in January, after all of the revellers admitted to being 15 or 16 .

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That same month, a police officer working at the Barnsley and Leicester football match found six boys, aged between 14 and 17 drinking pints there, while in February, police caught a group of youths calling themselves the "Tyke hit squad", who were also all aged between 14 and 17, also drinking alcohol in Bar Mix.

Sergeant Derek Barker, on behalf of South Yorkshire Police, has applied to Barnsley Council to review the licence of the bar, formerly known as The Room.

South Yorkshire Police previously asked for a review of Bar Mix's licence in June last year, but withdrew their application after an agreement was made with owner Admiral Taverns to remove the current designated premises supervisor, close the bar for four weeks, transfer the premises licence to Admiral Taverns and change the lease to a new holder.

A meeting to discuss the licence, which lets the bar serve alcohol from 10am until 2am every day, is set to be held at Barnsley Town Hall tomorrow.

At that meeting, police will present the council's licensing board with a number of statements, one of which is from the mother of the 16-year-old Penistone Grammar School student whose birthday party was broken up. The mother said that she booked Bar Mix for the party after being unable to find any more available venues in Barnsley town centre.

"I spoke to a male on the telephone and explained I wished to hold a 16th birthday party," she said. "He agreed this would be possible and identification would be checked to prevent any person under 18 being served with alcohol."

On the night of the party, she said, she arrived at Bar Mix and put up banners and balloons with "Happy 16th Birthday" written on them. The mother said: "I left at about 10.30pm to pick up my 18-year-old son who was going to supervise the party until the end. When I returned, there were people all over the street and I was informed the police had attended and stopped the party."

One Year 11 pupil at Penistone Grammar, who attended the event, said he bought four pints of Carling that night without being asked for identification.

Another 16-year-old, who bought the WKD alcopop from the bar that night, said: "At no point...in Bar Mix did anybody ask me for any ID. This includes the doorman and the bar staff."

One of the police officers who broke up the party said the bar was closed by the then-

designated premises supervisor Michael Sargent and manager Mark Simmons as soon as officers arrived. In his application to Barnsley Council, Sgt Barker said six teenage boys who were drinking pints left Bar Mix on January 26, the day of the Barnsley and Leicester football game, when police entered.

One of the boys was 14, three were 16 and two were 17 years. He also said another group of "six to eight hangers-on from the Tyke hit squad" were moved on by police when they were seen drinking there last month. One of the group was just 14 and two were 15.

The licensing committee meeting, at which Barnsley Council will hear from South Yorkshire Police and representatives from Bar Mix, will be held tomorrow at Barnsley Town Hall.

Board members have the power to revoke the bar's licence, suspend it temporarily, modify its conditions or remove the designated premises supervisor.

Admiral Taverns declined to comment.