Manchester pub shut down over knife find and suspected drugs haul is allowed to reopen

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Police said they have ‘serious concerns’ about the premises but the pub has been granted a temporary reprieve by the city council.

A Manchester pub which was shut down due to fears it was used as a ‘hub for criminals’ will be allowed to trade again until a full review of its licence has been completed.

The Queens Hotel in Monsall had its alcohol licence temporarily suspended – but the ‘interim measures’ placed on the premises have now been withdrawn.

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It comes after suspected Class A drugs, an eight-inch knife and a ‘large amount’ of alcohol hidden in and around the premises were seized by police.

People were spotted leaving the pub when the police arrived – but the owners claim they tried to use it as a ‘rat run’ and dumped the items at the premises.

The licensing sub-committee, which met via video link on 26 November, suspended the pub’s licence with immediate effect pending a full review.

But this decision was reversed following a hearing held in private last week.

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Queens Hotel in Sedgeford Road, Manchester. Pictured in September 2020.  Credit: Google MapsQueens Hotel in Sedgeford Road, Manchester. Pictured in September 2020.  Credit: Google Maps
Queens Hotel in Sedgeford Road, Manchester. Pictured in September 2020. Credit: Google Maps | google maps

What did the police say about the pub?

Speaking on behalf of GMP at the first licensing panel hearing, PC Stuart Hammersley said the police had ‘serious concerns’ about the premises.

A total of 87 bags of powder and ‘rock like’ substances together with an eight-inch knife were found when police attended the premises on November 24.

A ‘large amount’ of alcohol was also found hidden in the toilets and in a nearby storage container and a walkie talkie was found near the entrance of the pub.

PC Hammersley told the panel that he suspected the 87 individually wrapped bags contained cocaine, heroin and crack – but they had not been tested yet.

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What has the owner said in response?

Stephen Dale, who has owned the pub in Sedgeford Road since 1982, told the panel that ‘youths’ dumped their possessions and fled when police arrived.

He said: “Someone’s come to the pub and got the wrong impression of what was happening because these youths ran into a dead end where they couldn’t escape and rather than them face the consequences, they just disregarded everything they had on them.

“They didn’t have them on them in our premises. They ran into our premises to evade the police.”

However, he did not have access the CCTV at the time of the first hearing.

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The interim measures placed on the premises have now been withdrawn by Manchester City Council, allowing the pub to trade again pending a full review.

The full summary review is scheduled for Tuesday, December 21.