Judgement day beckons for Paisley pub as licence review hearing continues

A second hearing over a Paisley pub’s alcohol licence will take place this week after cops hit out over bosses’ handling of booze-fuelled antics.

Police applied to review the licence of The Last Post in County Square last year following scores of incidents in 2019 and 2020 involving drugs, fights and abuse of staff and stewards.

It is the first time a Scottish Wetherspoon’s pub has faced having its licence assessed, which is said to have caused the company “a great deal of concern”.

The first hearing took place in November at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s licensing board when police accused staff of not dealing with drunk customers fast enough.

Officers also insisted the pub’s search policy and stewarding plan had to be overhauled while expressing fears about the level of training staff were receiving in handling intoxicated customers.

But as police had not outlined the specific steps they wanted the board to take at the time, members agreed to further consider the matter at a future meeting to allow cops to liaise with Wetherspoon’s bosses.

The second hearing is now scheduled for Thursday morning, with the board set to meet from 10am.

Councillor Andy Steel will convene the board, with members due to meet remotely over Microsoft Teams due to coronavirus restrictions.

Wetherspoon’s has declined to comment on the matter ahead of the meeting but previously vowed to work closely with police, insisting having safe and welcoming pubs was its “top priority”.

Incidents highlighted by cops – all of which have taken place since August 2019 – included a rammy which broke out after a funeral wake, a bust-up in the female toilets and a fight outside the pub after someone had asked for a cigarette from other customers.

They also cited a man becoming “loud and aggressive” after appearing to take controlled drugs, a bag of white powder being found, and drunk customers becoming hostile after being refused service or entry.

At the first meeting, Wetherspoon’s representative Archie MacIver – of Brunton Miller Solicitors – insisted all issues had been dealt with appropriately by staff and action had been taken to prevent further incidents getting out of hand, including an upgrade of CCTV cameras.

Mr MacIver said at the initial hearing: “Wetherspoon’s take anything of this nature very seriously.

“They have never had a review like this before in all the years they’ve been in Scotland, so this has caused a great deal of concern.”

Daily Record – Paisley