4:34pm Thursday 23rd January 2014
The fate of a Milford pub labelled a ‘den of iniquity’ is yet to be decided.
At a meeting on Wednesday to review the licence of The Alma Hotel, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee asked for five working days to consider its decision.
The Priory Street pub’s licence is held by the Cardiff-based brewer S.A. Brain and Company, but the Designated Processing Supervisor (DPS) and tenant of the premises is Debbie Haughey.
Dyfed-Powys Police requested the review of the Alma’s licence, and would like to see it revoked.
Council licensing officer Nigel Hayes told the committee the pub had a reputation for violent offences, drugs, loud music and under-age drinking.
He said Ms Haughey had a habit of “not fully co-operating with or reporting things to the police”. Mr Hayes said in the last 12 months around 34 emergency calls had been made in relation to the Alma, and at least 27 arrests could be connected to the venue.
“There are around 900 licensed premises in Pembrokeshire,” said Mr Hayes.
“Not one of them causes as much trouble for the police as the Alma does. The Alma is currently making a mockery of the licensing laws.”
The committee was shown video footage of a man - with his trousers around his ankles – and a woman graphically simulating sex while dancing on the Alma’s bar.
Lewd comments could be heard in the background. Mr Hayes pointed out that staff at the pub did nothing to prevent the situation from continuing.
Sergeant James, a police officer of 26 years, told the Committee he was born and bred in Milford Haven and had never before encountered problems of the scale of those connected to the Alma. Chief Inspector Angela Reed said the pub constituted “such a drain on police resources” she had felt compelled to address the committee personally.
“The Alma is a small premises and should have little impact on the community, but we are seeing the opposite,” she added. “Of all the pubs in the county, without exception, the Alma is the worst one.”
Becky and Michael McGuinness, who own nearby Frankie’s Bar, told the committee violence spilling over from the Alma had affected their business. Mr McGuinness said many of his regulars were too afraid to go out drinking in case they got caught up in a fight. He also said Ms Haughey’s partner had come in to his pub and threatened to kill his family for complaining about the Alma.
Some of the evidence regarding the case was heard in private by the Committee.
A decision on the future of the Alma licence will be handed down in due course.
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