24-hour Burnley Blu Bar escapes censure

Blu Bar, Cow Lane, Burnley

Blu Bar, Cow Lane, Burnley

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

DRINKERS can still booze until breakfast after a 24-hour bar in Burnley escaped censure from councillors.

Police had wanted Blu Bar, in Cow Lane, to be closed at 5am, claiming it was a magnet for trouble, with even dawn street sweepers running the gauntlet of drunken yobs.

One taxi driver, Mohammed Afzal, said customers ‘walked up like zombies’ and cabbies had to go into ‘survival mode’ to flee a ‘war zone’.

But licensee Frank Musso told councillors he had hired three extra security staff, out of his own pocket, to ‘police’ the streets around the venue.

He said: “It is financially crippling because I think it is over and above our responsibility.

“In terms of putting people into taxis and getting them home, it’s almost like we are babysitting for the rest of the town centre.”

And after a marathon seven-hour hearing at Burnley Town Hall, members of the borough’s licensing sub-committee agreed with the bar boss and refused the hours restriction.

Coun Anne Kelly, committee chair, said the police evidence had failed to establish a ‘casual connection’ between the Blu Bar and crime and disorder problems in the Cow Lane area.

Divisional licensing sergeant Michelle Dixon had earlier detailed around 40 incidents which she and the force had linked to the club over the past year.

But the bar’s counsel, Sarah Clover, and licensing representative Gill Sherratt, repeatedly challenged the origins of a stream of assault and public order incidents police had linked to the premises.

Ms Sherratt said of the 16 incidents inside the club, eight involved people being legally ejected and there were three thefts and one criminal damage offence.

“The correct figure is four assaults over a 14-month period, and to say that is an exemplary record for premises of this kind, in my opinion, is an understatement,” she added.

Police and club bosses also clashed over an 18th birthday party in February which later turned out to be a 16th birthday bash – but still went ahead at the premises.

Richard Williams, representing Lancashire Police, questioned whether the event – which saw door staff seize 50 or 60 cans of beer, 10 litres of vodka and a bottle of Sambucca from youngsters coming in – should have been abandoned.

But Mr Musso said that decision would have left ‘200 people on the streets’ and he still thought he had made the right choice.

Comments (9)

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5:16pm Mon 31 Mar 14

phil kernot says...

That's what the country needs Harriet Harmen said all day drinking like very cosmopolitan ,, like when your abroad ,,, she's talking out of her ringtone , pub should be shut all day and only open at night ,,, just wasters sit I'n places like this ,,,
That's what the country needs Harriet Harmen said all day drinking like very cosmopolitan ,, like when your abroad ,,, she's talking out of her ringtone , pub should be shut all day and only open at night ,,, just wasters sit I'n places like this ,,, phil kernot
  • Score: 7

5:49pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Truth will out says...

"He said: “It is financially crippling because I think it is over and above our responsibility"

No it isn't. If you want to facilitate people drinking at all hours because you want to make money out of them then accept some social responsibility and start paying for it. The NHS is totally over-stretched at weekends precisely because Mr. Musso wants to absolve himself of any responsibility.

If it's financially crippling, jack your prices up so high that some of your "customer" cannot perhaps afford to get so drunk that they cause fights and mayhem for everybody else. Stop crippling the taxpayer who is paying for it all right now.
"He said: “It is financially crippling because I think it is over and above our responsibility" No it isn't. If you want to facilitate people drinking at all hours because you want to make money out of them then accept some social responsibility and start paying for it. The NHS is totally over-stretched at weekends precisely because Mr. Musso wants to absolve himself of any responsibility. If it's financially crippling, jack your prices up so high that some of your "customer" cannot perhaps afford to get so drunk that they cause fights and mayhem for everybody else. Stop crippling the taxpayer who is paying for it all right now. Truth will out
  • Score: 12

7:59pm Mon 31 Mar 14

DoggydogNo1 says...

Fetch back closing at 11pm! restrict sunday hours too! Sup at home if ya cant keep off it!
Fetch back closing at 11pm! restrict sunday hours too! Sup at home if ya cant keep off it! DoggydogNo1
  • Score: 7

7:31am Tue 1 Apr 14

DaveBurnley says...

DoggydogNo1 wrote:
Fetch back closing at 11pm! restrict sunday hours too! Sup at home if ya cant keep off it!
The MPs are probably shareholders in the pub companies and won't change it back. Meanwhile ordinary folk have to pay the price for these greedy pubs.
[quote][p][bold]DoggydogNo1[/bold] wrote: Fetch back closing at 11pm! restrict sunday hours too! Sup at home if ya cant keep off it![/p][/quote]The MPs are probably shareholders in the pub companies and won't change it back. Meanwhile ordinary folk have to pay the price for these greedy pubs. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Tue 1 Apr 14

gilly2125 says...

This article does not reflect the true facts of what happened in this hearing. These are the facts. The police were found to have been producing evidence that was irrelevant and not connected to this bar. They started with 70 exhibits that actually referred to only 40 incidents (the same incident was included in the evidence 3 times on some occasions). They claimed that the crime had dramatically increased in 2012 because of Blu Bar when the bar was closed for 10 months of that year!!! They added incidents of lost purses and jackets and people not able to find their sister to the ‘crimes’ that was apparently taking place. They claimed there had been arrests inside the premises when there has NEVER been 1 arrest. They produced 1 log of a police visit because it had a minor negative point on it and kept quiet about the numerous other visits that showed the premises being run well and there being a good atmosphere and no problems. The taxi driver’s statement referred to in this article was completely discredited when he referred to an incident that was blamed on Blu Bar when they were actually the people who helped him. The problem with the 18th birthday party was reported to the police by Blu Bar themselves. It tells you everything about the quality of police evidence when they have to resort to using 2 police officers to sit outside the bar for 2 hours with a video camera to try and find evidence for their case. Needless to say they did not mention the video or produce it in the hearing as it had nothing on it.
Burnley committee made an excellent decision that reflected the true picture and not the misleading and fabricated version put forward by the police. It would help the accuracy of articles such as this in the future if the reporter actually stayed awake in the hearing!
This article does not reflect the true facts of what happened in this hearing. These are the facts. The police were found to have been producing evidence that was irrelevant and not connected to this bar. They started with 70 exhibits that actually referred to only 40 incidents (the same incident was included in the evidence 3 times on some occasions). They claimed that the crime had dramatically increased in 2012 because of Blu Bar when the bar was closed for 10 months of that year!!! They added incidents of lost purses and jackets and people not able to find their sister to the ‘crimes’ that was apparently taking place. They claimed there had been arrests inside the premises when there has NEVER been 1 arrest. They produced 1 log of a police visit because it had a minor negative point on it and kept quiet about the numerous other visits that showed the premises being run well and there being a good atmosphere and no problems. The taxi driver’s statement referred to in this article was completely discredited when he referred to an incident that was blamed on Blu Bar when they were actually the people who helped him. The problem with the 18th birthday party was reported to the police by Blu Bar themselves. It tells you everything about the quality of police evidence when they have to resort to using 2 police officers to sit outside the bar for 2 hours with a video camera to try and find evidence for their case. Needless to say they did not mention the video or produce it in the hearing as it had nothing on it. Burnley committee made an excellent decision that reflected the true picture and not the misleading and fabricated version put forward by the police. It would help the accuracy of articles such as this in the future if the reporter actually stayed awake in the hearing! gilly2125
  • Score: 6

4:05pm Tue 1 Apr 14

Champagne plus charlie says...

I'm afraid I can't believe that members of our Police Force would deliberately lie and fabricate evidence in an effort to give themselves less work to do on a a Saturday night?

Doesn't sound like them???
I'm afraid I can't believe that members of our Police Force would deliberately lie and fabricate evidence in an effort to give themselves less work to do on a a Saturday night? Doesn't sound like them??? Champagne plus charlie
  • Score: 0

4:10pm Tue 1 Apr 14

Pointer123 says...

Here we go again...............
.good old Lancashire Evening Telegraph sensationalising to sell newspapers again !! You got the information wrong last time & reported untruths............
...the least you could have done this time is to get it right, but that wouldn't stir up such a fuss would it !!
It is also apparant that many are still unaware of the change in night time economy in Burnley. No-one goes out until after midnight - the town is a morgue until 1am - the busiest times are from 3am until 6am. The police know this, so why start their ' town centre' shifts at 10pm & finish at 5am............clear
ly this should be moved on 2 hours to accomodate.
However, for those who do wish to know the truth ............here are the facts...............

This a nightclub & is therefore open later than bars
If bars didn't open until 6am - they would close earlier
It is the most expensive venue in Burnley - surrounded by cheap ones
Drunks are causing trouble in this area - after drinking in the other cheap bars (not by drinking in the BluBar )
The licensee cannot be expected to look after those wandering the streets from other bars, but has endeavoured to do so - at his expense - with extra door staff outside the venue & a retreat & recovery area inside
The police documentation was completely incorrect & proved to be so

Justice was done - the police were discredited - and the BluBar was allowed to continue as before because it had neither caused nor created
the incidents in their report. Fortunately, in due course, the whole review will be available for all to read online, under Burnley Borough Council Licencing Committee reviews. Mr Musso is undoubtedly grateful to the 3 sensible Councillors who took 8 hours to listen to an incredibly expensive defence simply to clear his name, and to agree that he was an exemplary responsible licensee - unfortunately surrounded by others who are quite obviously aren't ! Yet after all that - he still faces comments of greed & irresponsibility - & all thanks to this newspaper. Thank God Peter McGill isn't on my team - or so many innocents would swing !!
Here we go again............... .good old Lancashire Evening Telegraph sensationalising to sell newspapers again !! You got the information wrong last time & reported untruths............ ...the least you could have done this time is to get it right, but that wouldn't stir up such a fuss would it !! It is also apparant that many are still unaware of the change in night time economy in Burnley. No-one goes out until after midnight - the town is a morgue until 1am - the busiest times are from 3am until 6am. The police know this, so why start their ' town centre' shifts at 10pm & finish at 5am............clear ly this should be moved on 2 hours to accomodate. However, for those who do wish to know the truth ............here are the facts............... This a nightclub & is therefore open later than bars If bars didn't open until 6am - they would close earlier It is the most expensive venue in Burnley - surrounded by cheap ones Drunks are causing trouble in this area - after drinking in the other cheap bars (not by drinking in the BluBar ) The licensee cannot be expected to look after those wandering the streets from other bars, but has endeavoured to do so - at his expense - with extra door staff outside the venue & a retreat & recovery area inside The police documentation was completely incorrect & proved to be so Justice was done - the police were discredited - and the BluBar was allowed to continue as before because it had neither caused nor created the incidents in their report. Fortunately, in due course, the whole review will be available for all to read online, under Burnley Borough Council Licencing Committee reviews. Mr Musso is undoubtedly grateful to the 3 sensible Councillors who took 8 hours to listen to an incredibly expensive defence simply to clear his name, and to agree that he was an exemplary responsible licensee - unfortunately surrounded by others who are quite obviously aren't ! Yet after all that - he still faces comments of greed & irresponsibility - & all thanks to this newspaper. Thank God Peter McGill isn't on my team - or so many innocents would swing !! Pointer123
  • Score: 2

4:17pm Tue 1 Apr 14

Pointer123 says...

Here we go again...............
.good old Lancashire Evening Telegraph sensationalising to sell newspapers again !! You got the information wrong last time & reported untruths............
...the least you could have done this time is to get it right, but that wouldn't stir up such a fuss would it !!
It is also apparant that many are still unaware of the change in night time economy in Burnley. No-one goes out until after midnight - the town is a morgue until 1am - the busiest times are from 3am until 6am. The police know this, so why start their ' town centre' shifts at 10pm & finish at 5am............clear
ly this should be moved on 2 hours to accomodate.
However, for those who do wish to know the truth ............here are the facts...............

This a nightclub & is therefore open later than bars
If bars didn't open until 6am - they would close earlier
It is the most expensive venue in Burnley - surrounded by cheap ones
Drunks are causing trouble in this area - after drinking in the other cheap bars (not by drinking in the BluBar )
The licensee cannot be expected to look after those wandering the streets from other bars, but has endeavoured to do so - at his expense - with extra door staff outside the venue & a retreat & recovery area inside
The police documentation was completely incorrect & proved to be so

Justice was done - the police were discredited - and the BluBar was allowed to continue as before because it had neither caused nor created
the incidents in their report. Fortunately, in due course, the whole review will be available for all to read online, under Burnley Borough Council Licencing Committee reviews. Mr Musso is undoubtedly grateful to the 3 sensible Councillors who took 8 hours to listen to an incredibly expensive defence simply to clear his name, and to agree that he was an exemplary responsible licensee - unfortunately surrounded by others who are quite obviously aren't ! Yet after all that - he still faces comments of greed & irresponsibility - & all thanks to this newspaper. Thank God Peter McGill isn't on my team - or so many innocents would swing !!
Here we go again............... .good old Lancashire Evening Telegraph sensationalising to sell newspapers again !! You got the information wrong last time & reported untruths............ ...the least you could have done this time is to get it right, but that wouldn't stir up such a fuss would it !! It is also apparant that many are still unaware of the change in night time economy in Burnley. No-one goes out until after midnight - the town is a morgue until 1am - the busiest times are from 3am until 6am. The police know this, so why start their ' town centre' shifts at 10pm & finish at 5am............clear ly this should be moved on 2 hours to accomodate. However, for those who do wish to know the truth ............here are the facts............... This a nightclub & is therefore open later than bars If bars didn't open until 6am - they would close earlier It is the most expensive venue in Burnley - surrounded by cheap ones Drunks are causing trouble in this area - after drinking in the other cheap bars (not by drinking in the BluBar ) The licensee cannot be expected to look after those wandering the streets from other bars, but has endeavoured to do so - at his expense - with extra door staff outside the venue & a retreat & recovery area inside The police documentation was completely incorrect & proved to be so Justice was done - the police were discredited - and the BluBar was allowed to continue as before because it had neither caused nor created the incidents in their report. Fortunately, in due course, the whole review will be available for all to read online, under Burnley Borough Council Licencing Committee reviews. Mr Musso is undoubtedly grateful to the 3 sensible Councillors who took 8 hours to listen to an incredibly expensive defence simply to clear his name, and to agree that he was an exemplary responsible licensee - unfortunately surrounded by others who are quite obviously aren't ! Yet after all that - he still faces comments of greed & irresponsibility - & all thanks to this newspaper. Thank God Peter McGill isn't on my team - or so many innocents would swing !! Pointer123
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Tue 1 Apr 14

sparkley says...

Sounds like gilly has her own agenda for her comments wonder who is paying her !
Sounds like gilly has her own agenda for her comments wonder who is paying her ! sparkley
  • Score: -3

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