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Mass brawl at wake sparks concerns over licences at Woolston Social Club in Southampton
POLICE were called to a social club after reports that a pool cue was being brandished as a weapon as a funeral wake descended into a mass brawl.
Officers were told that two women were fighting on the dancefloor and furniture was thrown as a fracas broke out at the popular club.
And when officers turned up to restore order they found the club president too drunk to give a statement, while bar staff refused to cooperate for fear of reprisals.
Bosses at Woolston Social Club will this week go before the city council’s licensing committee in a bid to extend their licence for two events.
They want temporary event notices (TENs) to sell alcohol and provide entertainment from 6pm to midnight on May 3 for a 30th birthday party, and from 3.30pm to 11.30pm on May 27 for a wedding reception.
But in the wake of the funeral wake brawl earlier in the year, Hampshire Constabulary has objected to a licence being handed out for either event.
The club had been granted a TEN to sell alcohol and provide entertainment from noon to 6pm.
But a police report recalls how officers were called there at 9pm, three hours after the temporary licence had expired, to reports that fighting had broken out inside the venue.
Officers were told that a number of people, who were not members of the club, had started fighting, with two women fighting on the dancefloor and a second scuffle breaking out between two men nearby.
Furniture had been thrown and one man had picked up a snooker cue as a weapon and was threatening other people with it.
A number of children were present during the fighting.
When they arrived, the report says officers asked the club president to provide a witness statement but he was unable to “due to being too intoxicated”.
The report added that when police were investigating the brawl, “bar staff would not assist and provide witness statements to the police to support the offence of affray, due to being in fear of future repercussions”.
Afterwards, licensing officers found that no log had been made of the brawl on January 3 in the venue’s incident book, while CCTV footage was not surrendered immediately on request and there were problems playing footage.
In her report, Karen Reeves, from Hampshire Constabulary’s licensing team, concludes: “The previous incident has left police with concerns with the running of future events after the breach of a TEN and club premises licence.
“With the lack of support from staff and committee members as well as young children being present raises further concern should any further incidents occur.
“It appears clearly that the committee have not learned from this incident and are not prepared to do anything to prevent a reoccurrence.”
The council’s licensing committee will meet tomorrow to decide whether to grant the two licences or not.
The club declined to comment.
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