A County Durham pub was closed down after reports of mass brawls, burglaries and underage drinking - and will have to abide by new rules to deter troublemakers when it reopens. 

The Top House, Stanley, closed in December following a review of the premises by licensing officers at Durham County Council. The investigation exposed serious concerns about the prevention of crime and disorder, and public safety at the pub. 

Officers found several incidents at or around the premises were reported to the police, along with breaches of the conditions attached to its licence.

Staff repeatedly failed to have a sufficient number of door supervisors on duty and failed to have a CCTV system with footage that could be downloaded to investigate crimes. There was also incomplete staff training. 

The Northern Echo: The Top House pub in Stanley closed in December - but is set to reopen in the coming weeks The Top House pub in Stanley closed in December - but is set to reopen in the coming weeks (Image: Google)

Former licence holder Camerons was replaced by FB Taverns in July. Now, the new owners have pledged to abide by the new rules, cut crime and provide a safer experience for customers. 

The review detailed several incidents between December 2022 and November 2023. Police were repeatedly called to reports of alleged assaults between door staff and customers, drug dealing and use, burglaries and reports of up to 20 people fighting outside the premises. 

An insufficient number of door supervisors on duty, new licence not on display and no door supervisor logs were also noted - but the authorities were later told that they had been rectified. 

However, repeat issues with the venue’s CCTV system and alleged theft of the hard drive were also recorded in the report. 

Following the 50 reported incidents, Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Brian Donnelly said he had lost confidence in the former Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) Tanya Hardy and her staff. The licence was altered in June but several incidents and breaches continued to be reported.

“The premises have repeatedly undermined the licensing objectives and have shown little progress over the last 14 months,” added PCSO Donnelly. 

Ms Hardy was written to twice by the council but did not respond. Legal proceedings have been initiated for noncompliance with licensing laws and are currently under consideration.

A new set of rules have now been agreed following a meeting with FB Taverns and Durham County Council’s licensing committee. The pub will remain closed until refurbishment work is complete - due to be later this month - and a new DPS will be appointed. 

The Northern Echo: Former license holder Camerons was replaced by FB Taverns in July.Former license holder Camerons was replaced by FB Taverns in July. (Image: Google)

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New opening hours mean it will close at 11:30pm between Sunday-Thursday, but the existing closing time of 2:30am Friday-Saturday will remain. 

A spokesman for FB Taverns said: “We are very grateful to the police and licensing authority for working with us. There have been some substantial difficulties with this premises and we are very pleased to confirm that those are a chapter in the history that we can put behind us.

“The committee can have every confidence that an experienced DPS is taking the premises on and it will be run in a manner that is not going to cause concern.”