Li­cens­ing re­view on bar where crick­eter was hurt

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Calls For Vigilance - By Vicky Castle

A crick­eter was lucky not to lose his eye in a late-night brawl at a pop­u­lar Ash­ford bar a po­lice of­fi­cer told a li­cens­ing hear­ing yesterday (Wed­nes­day).

Sgt Gary Brim­son said Lan­cashire county crick­eter Liam Liv­ing­stone suf­fered three deep lac­er­a­tions to his face dur­ing a brawl in­side the Auc­tion House in New Street on Au­gust 16. He was said to have been glassed in the face.

The of­fi­cer was giv­ing ev­i­dence to Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s li­cens­ing com­mit­tee which was hold­ing a full re­view of the town cen­tre hotspot’s li­cence af­ter po­lice said it was linked with se­ri­ous crime.

He told the com­mit­tee that po­lice had re­ceived 25 calls re­lat­ing to prob­lems at the premises be­tween Jan­uary 18 and Au­gust 1 - an av­er­age of one a week - and that was why they were ask­ing for the li­cence to be re­viewed.

The Auc­tion House, in New Street, has been linked to a se­ries of late-night in­ci­dents that have in­cluded fights and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

The in­ci­dent in­volv­ing sev­eral Lan­cashire crick­eters hap­pened as they were at the venue cel­e­brat­ing that day’s vic­tory over Kent. Trou­ble flared and drinks and punches thrown.

Door­men from the club stepped in and took peo­ple out­side be­fore po­lice and am­bu­lance crews ar­rived.

Bar staff were praised for their “swift in­ter­ven­tion” dur­ing the fight, but at a pre­vi­ous in­terim hear­ing the com­mit­tee ex­pressed con­cern about glass be­ing used as an “ef­fec­tive weapon” and or­dered the bar own­ers to serve all drinks in plas­tic glasses.

Sgt Brim­son de­scribed the trou­ble that night as a “se­ri­ous in­ci­dent” and said Mr Liv­ing­stone was lucky not to lose his eye.

He told the com­mit­tee: “CCTV was not avail­able at the time and no one has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with it.”

The of­fi­cer said if CCTV had been avail­able it would have helped po­lice trace the at­tacker.

The same night there was a fight be­tween two women in which another glass was thrown and another man was also se­ri­ously as­saulted.

Li­cence holder Alan Daly said he was away on hol­i­day on the night of the in­ci­dent and his staff could not ac­cess the CCTV mon­i­tor be­cause there was a fault with the screen.

Ni­cholas Bal­dock, bar­ris­ter for Mr Daly said: “The Auc­tion House takes this in­ci­dent very se­ri­ously.”

Mr Daly said con­tin­ued use of plas­tic glasses would be detri­men­tal to the busi­ness.

Un­der its cur­rent li­cence, The Auc­tion House is able to play mu­sic and sell al­co­hol un­til 3am, seven days a week.

The com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion on the Auc­tion House li­cence had not been made as the Ken­tish Ex­press went to press. Full re­port in next week’s pa­per and on our web­site, www.ken­ton­line.

The Auc­tion House Bar in New Street, Ash­ford

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