Reprieve for bar after flare incident

The owners of a Bo’ness bar told Falkirk Council’s licensing board this week that they have cleaned up their act.

The Newtown Bar was allowed to keep its license after the board was impressed by the work done by LT Management to improve the pub - in particular by the new manager, Donna Squires.

The pub was subject to a license review after trouble flared in the bar last October.

Inspector Gibson of Police Scotland told the board that on the morning of October 12, his officers had received intelligence that there might be trouble at the match between Bo’ness United and Bonnyrigg Rose.

Inspector Gibson said: “During the match there was a hostile atmosphere between a small section of fans and a flare was set off within the ground by a member of the away support.

“Police then visited the nearby licensed premises, including the Newtown Bar, to advise them to decline to serve alcohol to away supporters at half-time.”

However, when officers returned to the pub at half-time, they found away fans in the pub and a flare was then set off.

The inspector added: “The then premises manager Martha Graham did not act on earlier advice from the police, nor did she attempt to get people outside when the flare was set off.

“She told police afterwards ‘Everyone started running riot outside then the police arrived, it was chaos.’”

Speaking for the owners, Janet Hood said: “Because of the site of the club, home supporters always have permanent toilets and catering facilities but away fans normally have temporary toilets and temporary catering if they think there is going to be difficulties with the fans.

‘‘However, because of the late notice they had from 
police that there might be trouble they were unable to do this.

‘‘People who are at a football match are entitled to a refreshment at half-time.

“It is surprising that the police themselves did not tell fans they saw entering the pub ‘sorry you can’t go in there’.”

The board heard that since this incident there are now five members of staff working on a Saturday, rather than the one there was in October.

‘‘There have also been repairs made to the interior of the property and a new fence is being erected.

Malcom Nicol said: “On the day in question it is difficult to imagine what further could have been done to stop the situation from developing while having such short notice from police.

“Undoubtedly there were problems before but we were impressed with what we saw at the site visit.

“I will be asking the 
licensing standards officer to pay particular attention to the premises to check that the
 improvements continue.”