Police raise concerns over crime at nightclub

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Brought to you by the News Guardian.

A nightclub will be allowed to open later mid-week, but had its application for later weekend opening hours knocked back after police raised concerns about the level of crime at the venue.

North Tyneside Council’s licensing committee granted permission for Manhattens in Wallsend to open until 2am every day of the week – later than the midnight closing time the club used to have Sunday to Thursday.

However, the committee stopped short of letting the venue open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights, which is when police say there is the most trouble.

Police recorded 87 crimes at Manhattans on Wallsend High Street during the 18-month period from July 2016 to February 2018.

On the August bank holiday last year, two police officers were assaulted by a man who had been ejected from Manhattans before returning to the area with a bat with nails in.

Police had to use CS gas on the man and the decision was then made to close the venue earlier than planned.

Inspector Mark Storey, of Northumbria Police, told the committee that weekends were when most of the trouble at the venue happens and that he thought an extra hour of opening would make things worse.

He said: “I think it would increase crime and disorder, it would lead to an extra hour of drinking and it will be the same characters who are consuming that much more alcohol.

“These aren’t minor incidents. It’s people getting drunk, fighting with each other, weapons are involved.”

Copenhagen 1801 Ltd took over the venue in 2017 and refurbished it.

The company, which also owns a number of bars and venues in Newcastle including Powerhouse and Boulevard, immediately set about improving the venue, putting in their own staff and in-house security.

Area manager Tim McGrath said that a lot of the trouble at the venue is in common with bars in small towns and that they had improved Manhattans.

He said: “It is a small community, people know each other, there’s often family disputes which happen when people are drunk.”

Ms Smith said that the later opening time would mean that there would be a better dispersal of people leaving the venue, rather than everyone leaving at 2am which is when trouble often flares.

The licensing committee granted Manhattans a licence to open from 11am to 2am every night of the week, subject to conditions.

Laura Hill, local democracy reporter