Last orders for Owd Joss?

A HYDE pub which was the scene of a serious assault has had its licence suspended – and it may close completely.

A 25-year-old man suffered what is described as ‘serious brain trauma’ after being punched to the floor and having his head stamped on during the incident on Monday, July 13.And after finding the member of bar staff to be drunk and over concerns of reprisal attacks taking place, plus a threat by the perpetrator to burn the pub down, Tameside Council has decided to suspend its ability to open while it is under review.

And that will be determined by August 12.

A hearing of the Speakers Panel Liquor Licensing Committee today (July 16) was informed by both PC Martin Thorley and Superintendent Jane Higham of Greater Manchester Police they felt the pub should be closed, at least temporarily.

The incident occurred at about 4.30pm when an altercation took place between two customers, before the offender who has links to organised criminal activity, punched the victim causing him to fall to the floor and lose consciousness.

The offender then stamped on the head of the victim, who is currently banned from participating Pub Watch premises in Tameside until July 2023, and while he lay unconsciousness, he threatened customers and staff and warned that the incident should not be reported to the police, telling them words to the effect of, ‘No-one needs talk about this and not to tell the police nothing,’ and that if calls are made to the police he ‘will be back to tear the pub up and burn the pub down.’

Police eventually attended after being contacted by ambulance staff but their enquiries made the pub’s and now former designated premises supervisor (DPS) Sean Wilkinson’s problems worse.

According to PC Thorley: “The attending police officer approached and spoke with the lone member of bar staff and immediately formed the opinion that the staff member was extremely intoxicated, argumentative and obstructive.

“The member of staff was later sent home from duty and informed if she turned up for work after drinking any alcohol again, she would be dismissed immediately.

“There is a condition of the premises licence of the Owd Joss that the DPS will be a member of the Local Pub Watch.

“The DPS and/or staff have not attended any meeting and have refused to engage with Pub Watch.

“Requests were made by attending police officers to view the Covid-19 track and trace records for the premises in an attempt to identify the offender.

“There were no records at all in relation to any attending customer from opening until the police attending.”

Police found the victim, thought to be at Salford Royal Hospital after being transferred from  Tameside Hospital, unwilling to co-operate with them or assist with any of their enquiries.

But after viewing CCTV footage, they are of the opinion the perpetrator is known to them and has previously been linked to organised criminality.

However, both he and Supt Higham told Tameside Council they felt the Owd Joss’ licence should be suspended while it is under review, preventing it from opening.

In his report, PC Thorley added: “There is little doubt that the incident inside the premises is a serious assault resulting in potentially serious injuries.

“There is a concern over the management of the premises and their capability to run a safe venue for members of the public to visit.

“The pub failed to comply with guidelines in relation to Covid-19 and failed to safeguard the customers which led to this assault taking place.

“The threats by the offender also make the premises vulnerable if it was to remain open.

“There is an additional concern that this premises will become a focal point for repercussions and reprisals, giving rise to further incidents of serious crime and disorder and putting the safety of members of the public at risk.

“In order to ensure the licensing objectives and the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety are being promoted, Greater Manchester Police request that the licensing authority consider the suspension of the premises licence until the full review is heard before the committee.”

After hearing representation from Tameside Council officers, police and Hawthorn Leisure – which owns the pub and had voluntarily closed it – the committee decided to suspend the Owd Joss’ licence pending a full review.

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