A troubled Mirfield pub has been given a new lease of life following a series of violent incidents.
Members of the three-strong licensing panel on Kirklees Council opted to modify opening times at the Wilson’s Arms in Mirfield so that it closes at 2am on weekends, and for security staff to be increased to three.
Now landlady Emma Buckley has a stark message for “undesirables” who have blighted her premises in the past: stay away.
Police and licensing officers called for a review of the pub’s opening hours following a string of incidents involving drinkers.
But it was pointed out that much of the trouble was being caused by out-of-town visitors travelling in to the pub by taxi to take advantage of its 3am licence.
Police acted following five serious incidents over six months. All took place after 3am. In the most recent a man’s face was slashed with a knife, leaving a gaping wound described as “horrific”.
The incident remains under police investigation.
Following an altercation in February a man required surgery to reconnect the bridge of his nose and upper jaw to his skull after being “brutally attacked” outside the pub. A titanium plate was also fitted to replace a shattered cheek bone.
Prior to the attack outside Ms Buckley had been hit on the head with a pool cue.
In May during a domestic incident a man hit himself on the head with a brick before attempting to set fire to his own clothes.
Later the same month Ms Buckley was involved in an altercation with a man, previously banned from the pub, who went behind the bar and helped himself to bottles of beer.
And in June a man was punched in the street outside the pub.
In the most recent incident police believe the alleged attacker left the bar area clutching a knife, showing that pub staff’s search policy was “not fit for purpose.”
Ms Buckley, 33, who has run the Wilson’s Arms for 11 years, provided a lengthy statement about the pub and the measures she has introduced to prevent a recurrence of violence.
They included hiring extra door staff, imposing a strict “No ID, no entry” policy and bag searches.
It added: “Since three of the five listed occurrences have happened off the premises, could someone please advise as to where the responsibility ends as a licensee and of a door supervisor?”
As Ms Buckley faced the prospect of having her licence severely curtailed or revoked completely, regular customers set up a petition to show their support.
In modifying the pub’s opening hours panel chair Clr Carole Pattison said she expected all new staff to be fully trained and for “no intoxicated people to be allowed in”.
She asked that the police monitor the premises for the next six months.
Speaking after the meeting Ms Buckley said she was grateful to have kept her licence.
“We are open to all at the Wilson’s Arms. We don’t want undesirables or troublemakers.
“I am going to change things.
“Shutting at midnight would have crippled us. I’m happy with the compromise. Customers will be happy.”
Divisional Licensing Officer Richard Woodhead said whilst he would have liked to have seen a terminal hour of a maximum of 1am for the Wilson’s Arms there are no plans to appeal the decision.
“We will of course be monitoring any crimes or incidents of disorder directly linked to the Wilson’s Arms.”