The party’s over

The Glass Spider, Green Terrace, Sunderland
The Glass Spider, Green Terrace, Sunderland
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FLAMBOYANT nightclub owner Tony Griffiths today revealed plans to sell his prized city venue after it was hit with a catalogue of restrictions.

Multiple incidents of violence and disorder at the Glass Spider prompted licensing bosses to take enforcement action.

But their move has incensed Mr Griffiths.

He told the Echo: “You can’t stop people from walking over and smacking someone if it’s premeditated. Not even Paul McKenna or Mystic Meg could tell you that.

“It is the public who have committed these offences and I feel as if we are being treated as if we’ve committed them.

“Yes, I admit responsibility that in some cases our door staff have been involved, but they have been reprimanded and we have retrained them.”

This week, Sunderland licensing committee imposed a host of restrictions on the venue.

As well as the club being forced to close at 3am, rather than 6.30am, Mr Griffiths was ordered to stand down as the club’s designated premises supervisor and told all door staff needed to be vetted.

But Mr Griffiths, who was not present at the hearing, slammed the decision and said he will sell the club, which is currently closed.

He said: “You can’t have a nightclub closing before other pubs in the city. I will not open the venue again. I’m going to put it up for sale.

“It’s just another closed venue in the city, and to think we put these people in power. They are destroying our city.”

During the hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre, councillors were shown videos of two RAF staff - in the city for the International Airshow - being punched in the face by door staff.

Another showed a 17-year-old girl dragged out the club by a door supervisor and throw down stairs, fracturing her wrist.

Three door staff were also shown watching a man who was trying to walk away from a fight being repeatedly beaten around the head and knocked unconscious.

Speaking at the hearing, Sarah Howson, licence co-ordinator for Northumbria Police, said: “These videos show the mentality of the people who are working at the Glass Spider.”

Northumbria Police made the appeal to close the club earlier, saying that 90 per cent of the incidents were after 2am.

Councillors also decided the club’s door supervisor should wear a headcam, CCTV systems should be upgraded and all incidents should be logged.

Police welcomed the move saying they were only trying to make the city a safer place.

Chief Inspector Richie Jackson, of Sunderland Area Command, said: “Sunderland has a vibrant nightlife and our priority is making sure it is a safe place for everyone to enjoy and as part of that it’s important that licensed premises are managed responsibly.

“The majority of premises are well managed within the terms of their licence and work closely with us to make the city centre even safer. However, for those that don’t we take a robust stance and ask the licensing committee to review the terms of their licence.”

Restrictions imposed

•The Glass Spider should close at 3am on Friday and Saturday and 2am Sunday to Thursday.

•The sale of alcohol and the club’s entertainment should cease at 2.30am on Friday and Saturday and at 1.30am Sunday to Thursday.

Mr Griffiths should be removed as the club’s designated door supervisor.

•CCTV at the club should be upgraded and approved by Northumbria Police.

•The supplier of security at the club should have an approved contract status from the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

•A minimum of two headcams should be available at the premises, one of which must be worn by the door supervisor.

•All drinks should be served in polycarbonate containers. No glass containers should be passed over the bar.

•Two incident report systems should be put in place. One managed by door staff and the other by the bar manager.

•All staff are to be trained in the Challenge 25 scheme.