Drugs, violence and underage drinking – but this Sunderland bar can stay open

Banana Jo's, Vine Place, Sunderland
Banana Jo's, Vine Place, Sunderland
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A TROUBLED nightspot will remain open after agreeing to a number of conditions.

Banana Jo’s was hauled in front of a Sunderland City Council licensing sub-committee after racking up 26 reports of crime and disorder since January.

Incidents involved teenagers as young as 14 and 15 being found at the Vine Place bar, and a 17-year-old who was headbutted.

Police said that most of the incidents included altercations in the premises, all the people involved were drunk and many were arrested for being disorderly.

The conditions imposed on Banana Jo’s included changing the designated premises supervisor, an overhaul of its CCTV system, staff to request proof of age, introduction an incident reporting system, and to attend all city centre Pubwatch meetings.

Councillor Peter Gibson, chairman of the committee, said: “As Banana Jo’s have agreed to the police recommendations we agree that the premises can continue to operate.

“There are no conditions that we feel we need to add to the conditions from the police.

“But we also want to say we take a very dim view of people as young as 14 and 15 being allowed into the premises and being served.

“We hope that new management takes that on board and keeps a strict eye on the young people trying to enter.”

Other incidents at the club since January include a man detained in possession of cannabis, members of staff assaulted, a woman attempting to hit door staff with a bottle, and a man who spat in someone else’s face.

Banana Jo’s has also failed test purchases by Northumbria Police and Sunderland Trading Standards, where two 16-year-olds were sent in to buy alcohol.

The staff member who served them was fined £80.

The establishment was represented by solicitors at the meeting. They made no further comment on the council’s decision.

Twitter: @tomwhite7