A County Durham bar has been stripped of its licence after a stabbing incident left two people in hospital. 

Bar 1, Consett, has had its licence to operate revoked after Durham Constabulary raised serious concerns about the management of the venue following the violent incident. 

A hearing at Durham County Hall heard how the force believed the venue was a threat to public safety that put “profit before people’s safety”. 

Durham County Council’s licensing authority received a closure order notice for Bar 1 on January 9 following a hearing at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court. 

The Northern Echo: Bar 1, Consett, has had its licence to operate revoked.Bar 1, Consett, has had its licence to operate revoked. (Image: Google)

The order was issued after the stabbing incident outside the venue in the early hours of December 27, 2023, where two men were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

During the hearing, Durham Constabulary's legal representative Paul Clarke detailed a litany of concerns with the Front Street premises - including alleged reports of people carrying knives. 

On one occasion, staff at Bar 1 confiscated a machete from a customer at the front door. Underage drinkers were also reportedly spotted inside the bar regularly. 

Relevant incidents are not reported to the police, according to the force, and they were only told about the stabbing because the ambulance service attended. 

Mr Clarke said: “Staff have not given police statements about the incident. Staff are obstructive and rude to the police.

“Often when the CCTV is asked for by the police it is not working or not surrendered in a timely fashion. There doesn’t seem to be any willingness on behalf of this establishment to work with the police. 

“It’s profit before people’s safety.”

The licensing committee was also told of an incident on December 23, where a man collapsed outside the venue and was given CPR, but it was not “called in” to the police. 

Duncan Craig, representing bar owner Jody Armstrong, said the police rarely had any issue with the venue before the serious incident. 

He told the hearing: “In the lead up to this you don't have a picture of the premises deteriorating in any way. 

“That person could have gone into any licensed premises. There’s been a catastrophic failure, but what the police are saying is that at the first strike the licence should be revoked.

“There are a number of far-reaching implausible actions targeted as a result of the incident. She didn’t take a knife out that night somebody else did.”

Mr Craig said the venue had proposed introducing an improved CCTV system, an ID scanner and a mandatory metal detection search for all customers visiting the bar. 

However, members of Consett Pubwatch - consisting of several venues in the town - signed a letter to share their concerns over the running of the venue. 

But, addressing the hearing Ms Armstrong said the venue should not be defined by the incident. 

“This business is my everything,” she said. “I was under a lot of pressure that night and we did the best we could. Our job is very dangerous for what we have to do. 

“The police are not willing to work with us. In four years this is the only major incident. I am willing to jump through hoops to get back open. 

“I run that bar to the best of my ability. This is so costly to me and it would be life-changing if I have to close down. I feel like I'm paying for the incident the most.”

Yet Durham Constabulary wasn’t convinced by the proposed improvements. 

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In a closing statement, Mr Clarke said: “There’s been no open admission that they will help and support the police. We don’t know what goes on, incidents aren’t reported to the police. If there was another serious incident, how would people be brought to justice? 

“It’s not an isolated incident, there are many incidents and there will be more.”

The committee voted to revoke the bar’s licence altogether. Councillor Lesley Mavin said: “We feel a serious incident of disorder has emanated from the premises and none of the conditions have been adhered to.”