Manchester pub shut down after 87 bags of ‘substances’ and eight-inch knife seized

A Manchester pub has been shut down due to fears it is a ‘hub for criminals’ after 87 bags of powder and ‘rock like’ substances were found by police at the premises.

The Queens Hotel in Monsall has lost its alcohol licence pending a full review.

It comes after police seized suspected Class A drugs, an eight-inch knife and a large amount of alcohol hidden in the toilets and in a nearby storage container, council papers said.

A walkie talkie was also found near the entrance of the pub on Sedgeford Road, documents stated.

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

Speaking on behalf of GMP at a licensing panel hearing last week, PC Stuart Hammersley said the police have ‘serious concerns’ about the incident.

He said: “It is a serious amount of drugs. It’s not just for someone’s personal use. It’s 87 individually wrapped bags of what I would suspect – it’s not been tested yet – cocaine, heroin, crack. And obviously, a very large knife.

“Whoever’s had that, we’re in no doubt, is involved in drug dealing.

“From our perspective and what the officers saw on the night, it’s serious criminality and those items were found in the pub.

“I don’t think we’re really satisfied that the issue is completely resolved. We still have concerns about what happened.”

Stephen Dale, who has owned the pub since 1982, said he was not at the premises when the incident took place on Wednesday 24 November.

He told the panel that ‘youths’ ran into the pub to evade police and ‘screamed’ at the barmaid when they found the other exit was locked before dumping their possessions and fleeing the premises before the police arrived.

However, he had not been able to access the CCTV at the time of the hearing.

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.”

Mr Dale said he runs a ‘tight ship’ at the pub which he has owned for 39 years.

He has recently taken over management of the pub which closed during the pandemic but is now undergoing refurbishment with plans for a youth club.

But he told the panel of problems he has been having with young people who gather on the ‘waste ground’ located next to the premises and threaten him.

He has even barred their parents from the pub – but he said this has backfired.

He added: “We don’t want these people around us. We don’t want them on the estate. But we can’t control the full estate.”

The licensing sub committee decided to suspend the licence with immediate effect pending a full review which has been scheduled for 21 December