doc

A POPULAR pub at the centre of allegations regarding drunk-and-disorderly behaviour, sexual assault, under-age drinking and Class A drugs could be closed.

Sussex Police officers said that the way Harbour View in Wellington Road, Portslade, is being run is “well below acceptable standards” and they want the city council’s licensing committee to consider revoking its licence.

However, the licence-holder told The Argus the allegations are unfounded and he had “turned the pub around” since taking over.

A Sussex Police spokesman said license officers found traces of cocaine and heroin in the venue and a member of staff sold alcohol to a 16-year-old girl during a police test purchase.

The spokesman said: “There have been a number of incidents of concern associated with the premises.

“Among them have been assaults on police officers called to disturbances involving under-age Harbour View customers, children being sold alcohol and reports of women being sexually assaulted.

“There have also been recorded breaches of the conditions of the licence, including a lack of working CCTV, no training records being available and no evidence that toilets were being regularly checked.”

The submission to Brighton and Hove City Council concluded that there was “no other alternative” than to ask for the licence to be revoked and was an “appropriate and proportionate response to the levels of crime and disorder at the premises in addition to the breaches of licence conditions and the sale of alcohol to children”.

Artan Bika, 42, who has held the licence since October 2013, said the allegations were untrue.

He said the sexual assault allegations would be proven false and he planned to sack the member of staff who had served alcohol to a 16-year-old.

He said CCTV had been working for five to six months, any possible drugs use was down to a tiny minority who would be barred and no fights had broken out inside.

Mr Bika, who also runs the car-wash next door, said he had called police to deal with a regular customer who started attacking the pub windows from outside.

He said: “Why do I have to get punished like this?”

Customer Tony Hadden, 50, said the pub was a friendly place and he would miss it if the licence was revoked.

Sergeant Simon Morgan, Brighton and Hove licensing supervisor for Sussex Police, said a review application was a “last resort”.

A consultation on the review ends on September 17. The hearing must take place within 20 days after that.