Connect with us


Sort pub or ‘lives could be lost’, say police



lives could be lostCOUNCILLORS deciding the future of the Alma Hotel in Milford Haven on Wednesday failed to reach an immediate decision on the future of the troubled premises.

Dyfed Powys Police had requested a review of the premises licence following a series of incidents, which they say makes the Alma the worst out of 900 licensed premises in the force area.

At the start of the Licensing Sub-Committee meeting on Wednesday, David Lloyd, a barrister and County Councillor for St. David’s asked the chairman, Cllr David James, if he could make an application to represent Alma manger Debbie Haughey. After consulting the legal advisor the chairman told Cllr Lloyd that he would not be allowed to represent Ms. Haughey.

Cllr. Lloyd told the committee: “I am bitterly disappointed” before leaving the room.

The council legal advisor had said that despite the hearing being about Ms. Haughey’s pub she was not ‘a party to the proceedings’ as she had not made any written submissions before December 5, 2013.

However, Ms. Haughey remained at the table and was eventually allowed to speak, albeit unrepresented, after a change of heart by the chairman. First to speak was Police licensing officer, Nigel Hayes, who told the licensing committee: “In my written submission to you today there is a large number of incidents recorded. Some are irrelevant, some are hoax calls, but some will be relevant.

“We are here today because as a concerned party, we are entitled to ask for a review of the licence of the Alma for the good of the community. This review is called in the interest of the prevention of crime and disorder, protection of children and the protection of persons from harm”.

‘Worst pub’ in the force area

Nigel Hayes continued: “There is indisputable evidence of a high level of crime at the Alma. There have been 29 arrests in the last two years and 26 of these have been for violence. We have identified 16 individual victims of crime. There have been 34 999 calls. And in one incident, Debbie Haughey withdrew her door staff, closed the door and allowed victims and attackers to get on with it.

“In one incident, 12 police vehicles were deployed to the premises, which proved a huge commitment of police resources. We believe that there is underage drinking, admittedly, there have been no prosecutions. The reason for this is that the number of reports have been made some time after the event. There has been little engagement by Debbie Haughey.

“In one incident, a 16-year-old girl was found to be serving behind the bar and appeared to be in charge of the premises. But Debbie Haughey is the designated premises supervisor, and she has responsibilities. She has though been obstructive when dealing with the police. The attitude of Debbie Haughey has been uncooperative, and it is my submission that she has failed to recognise the licensing objectives.

“There are 900 premises with a licence, but the one above the radar for the police is the Alma. In fact, a further incident involving the premises took place just 36 hours before this formal review. You can put up a smoke screen, but there comes a point when you reach saturation point. There is a real problem with the Alma, and this is causing problems to the community, the police and the health board.”

‘Lives could be lost’

Nigel Hayes read out a report written by the Chief Inspector of Pembrokeshire which said:

“The Alma has a history of long and persistent abuse of the licensing laws. The Alma is not a large establishment, but instead a thorn in the side of the police. I fear lives could be lost if the situation remains unchanged. Many individuals said when in contact with the police they had been drinking in the Alma as late as 4 or 5pm”.

The licensing committee were then shown a video of a young man and woman dancing on top of the bar at the Alma in a sexually provocative way to loud music.

Afterwards, Nigel Hayes said: “I have been a police officer for 31 years and I have never heard of this kind of behaviour being tolerated at a bar. The options here today are to close the bar down, remove the current designated premises supervisor or to change the profile of the premises to reduce the hours of operation”.

Councillor John Brinsden asked the police licensing officer if there were any problems before Debbie Haughey took over the premises. He also asked how the Alma compared to other pubs in Milford Haven. Councillor Brinsden also wanted to know if there had been an improvement since the licence was put up for review last year. Mr Hayes called on Sergeant James to answer the committee.

Sergeant James said: “Dealing with the Alma has been the worst experience of my life as an operational officer. I have seen drunken louts having to be picked up off the street. They often make reference to the Alma. I am born and bred in Milford haven. The Alma has never been like this before”.

Milford Haven man Terry Page made representations to the Councillors regarding his experience with the Alma.

He said: “My partner used to work at the pub, and was attacked one night after she had finished her shift. She was attacked by two girls who came from the premises and the landlady was heard telling her door staff to leave it and I tried to break up the fight.

“I am positive that one of the girls had taken something, I cannot possibly say whether it had been on the premises or not, but I have seen many drunk people in my time and they do not act like that.

“When the police arrived at our home to speak to us, we were told that one of the girls that had attacked my partner was 16 years of age. I had found it to be a good pub and it used to be very respectable. I have not been there since as I am completely disgusted.

“My partner had also found a new job at South Hook LNG, though could not work because of the injuries she had and lost her job. One of the injuries that she had suffered included chunks of her hair being pulled out and cuts to her head”.

Alma ‘damaging business’,

says Frankies Bar. The manageress of Frankie’s Bar, Charles Street, which is in close proximity to The Alma, made representations to the licensing committee that her business had been adversely affected by the Alma.

Miss Becky Onisiforou told Councillors: “People who have been there sometimes come to us covered in blood having been fighting in the Alma”.

Her partner, Michael McGuiness said: “Debbie Haughey’s partner came to our pub and threatened us. He said that if the Alma was to lose its licence, he would kill us. He had been told that we had made hoax calls about the Alma, but most of what he had been told was untrue. We cannot understand how a premises can have so many incidents – it is affecting our business as well”.

Miss Onisiforou added: “People are not coming out as much now, Milford is a lot quieter because of the Alma. People aren’t going to the night club because they know they can stay at the Alma late and they don’t want to be involved with what happens in Milford Haven. It’s not about going for a drink and having a laugh any more”.

After breaking for lunch, for the committee moved into private session, where the representatives from Brain’s, Mr. Matthew Phipps of TLT Solicitors and Mr. Ross Matthews, area manager for Brains, went through the police incident reports one by one.

Mr Phipps told the committee that Brain’s had an estate of around 250 public houses, and that they have never had a licence revoked. They were a large professional organisation, and there had only been one review of a licence concerning a CCTV system which had become faulty, but was later fixed.

Mr. Phipps made representations to the committee that now Brains were aware of the problem, an organisation of their size, would not have any problems turning the premises around.

Revocation a nuclear option

Mr Phipps pointed out that in the national guidelines the police authority should contact the licensee of the premises if there was a problem to enter into dialogue so that improvements could be made. In this case, the police, he said, had applied for a review as a first step.

Mr Phipps continued: “I don’t think that we are at the stage where we have to use the nuclear option to revoke the licence. A revocation at this point, where the licensee has not had a chance to improve the premises would only be reserved for the most serious cases such as a pub selling firearms or harbouring a paedophile ring”

The committee will now decide over the next five working days if the licence should be revoked, if the premises should operate with reduced opening hours or if Debbie Haughey should be removed as the manager of the premises.

“90% of all violent incidents happened after midnight”, the police licensing officer said.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Body found in missing person search in Carmarthenshire



IN THE LAST few moments, Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that a body has been found this afternoon, Wednesday, November 29, during the search for Angharad, who had been reported missing.

Formal identification has not yet taken place, however Angharad’s family has been informed of this development.

Police said: “Our thoughts remain with the family at this difficult time.”

Continue Reading


Excellent progress on construction of new Welsh medium primary school



A CELEBRATION event was held on the site of the new Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Penfro in Pembroke on Tuesday 14th November to mark the reaching of the highest point of the building, traditionally known as the ‘topping-out’ ceremony.

The event was hosted by Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd and attended by pupils and staff from Ysgol Gelli Aur, the Executive Headteacher of the new school, governors of the Temporary Governing Body of Ysgol Bro Penfro, Cabinet members, senior Council officers, and a members of the project team.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and the Welsh Language, Cllr Guy Woodham, said that he was extremely pleased with progress at the site.
“Whilst I was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony, my Cabinet colleagues have shared with me their experience, and the excellent progress being made on the new school.
“I am particularly pleased that the project remains on budget, and on programme, which means that Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Penfro will be in a position to admit pupils in September 2024.”
Members of the school’s Temporary Governing Body expressed their delight with the building.

The Executive Headteacher of Ysgol Bro Penfro, Mr Dafydd Hughes, confirmed that pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed the event and that everyone connected with the school is excited at the prospect of moving to the new school next year.

“The fact that a new Welsh medium primary school is being built in Pembroke is an important and exciting development on so many levels.

“As Executive Headteacher of Ysgol Bro Penfro I am committed to ensure that when the school opens its doors in September 2024 every pupil will be given opportunities to flourish and thrive in a welcoming Welsh medium setting. I am also focused on ensuring that the whole Pembroke community takes great pride in the school.”

Pupils were very excited to see the new school. Among the comments received were: “We loved signing the steels, it will help us to remember when we came here when our school was being built and we will always be a part of our new school”

“I can see that everyone is working really hard to build us our school. The school is so much bigger than we expected and can’t wait to start learning in our new classes”.

The project is being funded by Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire County Council, and will provide a significant contribution to the Council’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.

Continue Reading


County mourns loss of revered priest and community pillar, Father McGreal



THE CATHOLIC community in Pembrokeshire is in mourning this week after the passing of one of its most well-known priests, Father Owen McGreal, aged 88, former parish priest of St Teilo’s Catholic Church, Tenby and former governor of Mary Immaculate RC School in Haverfordwest.

It is understood that Father Owen passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning (Nov 28).

Although he had retired from his role as parish priest in 2014, he remained active in the community, serving as a cover priest. He attended a Paul Sartori event in Haverfordwest just a few weeks ago.

In 2009, family, friends, civic guests, clergy, religious, and parishioners gathered together at St. Teilo’s Catholic Church, Tenby, to attend a Concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving for the Golden Jubilee of Father Owen’s ordination to the priesthood.

His brothers, Lt. Col. Patrick McGreal and Mrs. McGreal, Fr. Michael McGreal (who passed away last year, aged 92), and many nephews, nieces, great-nephews, and great-nieces came from Ireland to celebrate this great event. Among the guests were Rt. Rev. Bishop Thomas Burns SM, then the recently appointed Bishop of Menevia; Bishop Emeritus Rt. Rev. Daniel Mullins, former Bishop of Menevia; and fellow clergy.

In 2014, on his retirement, there was a concert at St Teilo’s bidding farewell to Father Owen after a total of almost 25 years of dedicated service.

Father Owen had dedicated a large part of his life in the church to the service of young people, so it seemed fitting, many said, that the concert included young talented musicians from not only Tenby but also from as far away as Norway and the USA.

On the news of Father McGreal’s passing yesterday, Leanne Prevel, Acting Headteacher of Mary Immaculate RC School, said in a letter to parents and guardians: ‘It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the death of Father McGreal, former parish priest, school governor, and long-term supporter and champion of Mary Immaculate School.

‘We understand that this news will have come as a shock to members of our school community.

‘Should you or your family need any support at this time, please do not hesitate to contact the school, or the Parish…’

‘Our Mass planned for December 8 will now be for the repose of the soul of Father McGreal. We also intend to hold a gathering at the school to remember and celebrate his life in the next couple of weeks. Further details will be shared with our school community in the coming days.

‘We remember in our prayers, Father Owen McGreal, and those impacted by his death.'”

Continue Reading

News2 hours ago

County mourns loss of revered priest and community pillar, Father McGreal

THE CATHOLIC community in Pembrokeshire is in mourning this week after the passing of one of its most well-known priests,...

Sport3 hours ago

This week’s Pembrokeshire rugby round up – 25/11/23

THERE was plenty of rugby to choose from up and down the county last weekend. We round up the latest...

News23 hours ago

Police investigating after van and bike collide in Dale

DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating a collision which occurred at approximately 10am on Monday, October 23 2023. A bike and a...

News1 day ago

Officers investigating a serious assault have made an arrest

A 21-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of assault. He has been released on bail pending further police enquiries....

News2 days ago

Chance for local craftspeople, artists and producers to sell their goods in Tenby market

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is seeking expressions of interest for table-top pop-up offerings within the popular indoor market in Tenby. It...

Business2 days ago

Communities get outdoors thanks to grants from broadband provider Ogi

COMMUNITY groups across south Wales are embracing the outdoors this autumn, thanks to almost five thousand pounds from Ogi –...

News5 days ago

Petition praised as Welsh Government agrees to Fingerpost junction changes

SENEDD members praised the friends of a man who died at the notorious Nash Fingerpost during a debate on Wednesday,...

News5 days ago

Festive films return to Carmarthen Showground with street food cinema drive-in

A FESTIVAL of festive films is coming to Carmarthen Showground in December with the return of Street Food Cinema’s Christmas...

Community5 days ago

A night to remember at the PAVS Pembrokeshire Volunteering Awards 2023

PEMBROKESHIRE volunteers were celebrated at a gala dinner and awards ceremony held on November 16 at The Queen’s Hall Narberth. ...

Education5 days ago

Cash-strapped school support staff in Wales are ‘paying for pupils’ essentials’

SCHOOL support staff across Wales are using their own money to help pay for pupils’ food and clothing, even though...

Popular This Week