Nottingham pubs forced to close due to soccer trouble fears

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Licensees in Nottingham are up in arms over police plans to force them to close for a forthcoming football match.More than 30 pubs in Nottingham may...

Licensees in Nottingham are up in arms over police plans to force them to close for a forthcoming football match.

More than 30 pubs in Nottingham may have to close on Saturday, February 9 because police fear there could be trouble before Nottingham Forest's game with Millwall.

There is also concern that after recent trouble at football games around the country the closures could now be copied by police all over Britain.

The police have sent letters to Nottingham publicans telling them they must close between 10.30am and 6pm because they believe there is a high risk of violence surrounding the fixture.

But the move to shut bars near the ground during the day of the match has been criticised by many licensees.

Chris Holmes, chairman of local pub operator Tynemill, is furious. He currently has two pubs that will be affected, the Stratford Haven in West Bridgford and the Vat and Fiddle in Nottingham.

"If the police are expecting trouble they should call the game off," Mr Holmes said. "They have not consulted us and I'm angry that they have made the assumption that football is more important than anything by making the pubs shut.

"The pubs in question do not have a history of football violence. The problem is that Millwall supporters do have a history of violence."

"But this ruins it for everybody else as well. People will not be able to go for something to eat and drink in any of the pubs and they will probably now be too frightened to go shopping because the police have done this."

He pointed out that those football hooligans intent on causing trouble would simply go to another pub on the outskirts of the city. "This will just move the problem," he added.

Steve Bramley, who runs the Stratford Haven pub, which is close to Nottingham Forest's ground, agreed that by shutting the pubs the problem would move elsewhere. He told thePublican.com: "We do not have a history of football violence at this pub, in fact we have never had any trouble from either home or away supporters.

"We stand to lose a couple of hundred thousand pounds through shutting for the day. When Nottingham Forest play at home it is one of our best trading times."

Chief Inspector Mark Holland admitted to thePublican.com that troublemakers might try and drink elsewhere, but said the police had moved to prevent this from happening. "There will be 270 officers around the city centre and there will be extra door supervisors at the pubs who will not let undesirables onto the premises," he said.

Local magistrates are expected to confirm in the next few days whether such an order will be granted under the 1964 Licensing Act.

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