A BAR boss is set to appeal against a decision to revoke his drinks licence after a campaign was launched to back his case.
The JT Finn bar in Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery, was told it can no longer serve alcohol after a review of its licence at the request of police.
Officers said it was needed to protect children, after three occasions when teenage girls were sold alcopops without their age being checked, leading to spot fines for staff.
Police said they also found empty bags of cocaine in the toilets, and community leaders complained of disorder, including drinkers urinating and being sick in the street.
Now Richard Parker, the designated licence holder for the bar, is gathering a petition to show the strength of support from customers and those living nearby.
A Facebook page, Save The Irish Bar, has also been set up.
Mr Parker, who has been in the trade for 20 years and has run bars in Sunderland, said he was in the process of putting a host of changes in place at the bar since he took it over in July when the police said they would be asking for Durham County Council to carry out the review.
His improvements include putting in a Challenge 25 scheme, asking any customers who look under that age to show proof of identity, a refusals book, joining the Pub Watch scheme, ongoing training and drunk-awareness sessions in a bid to prevent any disorder.
Mr Parker, who lives above the pub, also plans to move the main door to the side entrance, so smokers and people coming and going would not be as close to homes, with closing hours earlier than most at 10pm during the week and 10.30pm at weekends.
Mr Parker said: “There is another side that I want to put across.
“We hold our hands up to the underage drinking, and I’ve said that to the police.
“I’ve brought in a company to do the staff training, and they’ve done a couple of sessions now, and they know what to do when they’re serving.
“I used to have Bud Bigalows in Sunderland, but I don’t want to be open all hours now.”
Mr Parker added: “We don’t encourage children in, we don’t serve food, it’s not somewhere families come.
“We’re disputing the noise or the kids are a problem.” Mr Parker, who is a fund-raiser for Macmillan, also said many of the issues raised by the police could be found in most bars and added that noise caused by revellers was also down to other pubs in the area, which close later, and troublemakers have been encouraged to stay away from J.T Finn’s.
•Mr John Finn has asked us to clarify that he is not involved in licensed activity at the pub.