Manchester

Wigan bar Casino De Cuba has hours cut after brawl

Casino de cuba Image copyright Google
Image caption The owner of Casino De Cuba in Wigan disputes police reports of violent outbreaks at the bar

A woman and her friend locked themselves in the toilets of a bar during a "large scale brawl" as they "feared someone would be killed".

The violence happened at Casino De Cuba in Wigan last month, along with several other reported outbreaks of disorder.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) called for its licence to be suspended but councillors instead opted to cut the hours of operation.

The owner said the venue does not have an issue with disorder.

A number of reported violent outbreaks triggered a review of the town centre venue's licence.

On the night of March 24, the woman and her friend had to "seek refuge" in the toilets as the brawl spilled out onto the streets. One man was viewed on CCTV using his belt wrapped around his hand as a knuckle duster/weapon, police said.

But owner Andy Ballard told the Local Democracy Reporter Service details in the police reports were exaggerated.

'Deserved it'

He said: "If it was that bad they would have shut us down for 28 days, but they didn't."

A man was also punched to the head from behind, fracturing an eye socket and losing several teeth hours earlier on the same night, the force said.

Door staff told him "he must have deserved the assault", police records stated.

Mr Ballard said CCTV showed the "brawl" was "four [people] rather than 20" and questioned if the customer spoke to door staff.

"He could have spoken to anyone," Mr Ballard said.

GMP reported a "large scale fight" near the bar's doorway a week later on 31 March whereby a man was "seen pinned to the floor where he receives a severe beating by punches to the head".

Mr Ballard said that did not involve Casino De Cuba customers.

The bar had been licensed until 04:00 at weekends but will now open until 01:00. It will close at midnight on weekdays, pending a full licence review.

Wigan Council also made an order for more door staff to be employed.

A GMP spokesman said: "The licence holder has insufficient procedures in place to deal with drunkenness or provide an acceptable level of safety to customers."

A full review hearing is expected next month.

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