Hesketh Arms pub ordered to keep using toughened beer glasses

A pub in Preston has been ordered to keep using safer toughened pint glasses which are less dangerous in a possible ‘glassing‘ attack.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 7:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 11:28 am
Hesketh Arms

New owners of the Hesketh Arms in Ribbleton had wanted to see a rule which says the pint glasses it uses must be stronger to be lifted.

But police intervened saying officers had been called to the New Hall Lane pub 19 times in the last 12 months including call outs to three assaults and “threats to kill”.

When they break, beer glasses which are toughened shatter into pieces rather than breaking into jagged edges which is dangerous in a possible ‘glassing‘ attack.

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Hesketh Arms pub ordered to keep using toughened beer glasses

The safety glass requirement is currently in place at dozens of city centre pubs, and police say it is part of a package of measures that they use to make pubs safer.

Other measures include installing CCTV, employing extra door staff and a dispersal policy when customers leaving at the end of the night.

On taking on the Hesketh Arms pub last year Marston’s PLC had applied to Preston City Council for a variation of its license.

It was due to close the pub for a refurbishment and wanted to ‘reposition the premises on opening as a new venture’, according to application documents.

The variation to the pub’s license among other things included refitting the bar, bringing in new seating booths and creating an enhanced beer garden outside as well as removing the stipulation on the type of beer glasses it uses.

The condition on the license meant that ‘only glasses that are made of toughened glass shall be used on the premises’.

However the application stated that ‘Marston’s seek to remove the condition so as to come in line with their glass stock as a considerable quantity of the glassware provided to the premises will be drink branded’.

Stepping in to block the move police sergeant Richard Horton lodged an objection to the application with the council’s licensing sub-committee.

In it he wrote: “We object to the proposed variation to remove the requirement for toughened glassware at the Hesketh Arms so as to allow Marston branded plain glassware.

“The Hesketh Arms is a gathering place for Preston North End and risks fans both for home and away matches.

“In the last 12 months there have been 19 incidents requiring police attending the Hesketh Arms including three assaults, nine public order offences and threats to kill or cause criminal damage.

“Balancing the advertising-branded value or lower costs of standard glasses against the contribution to the licensing objectives of public safety and preventing crime and disorder made by toughened glass we cannot support a return to plain glassware in this premise.”

The Hesketh Arms reopened before Christmas after the refurbishment.

However following the objection letter form police Marston’s agreed to continue using the toughened pint glasses.

PS Horton confirmed to the Post that he then withdrew his objection and now the issue, which was to come before members of PCC’s sub-licensing committee on Monday, was cancelled.

A Marston’s Brewery spokesman said: “This is usual protocol and part of Marston’s policy to upgrade the license when acquiring a new site.

“We have been working with Lancashire Police throughout the process and when all relevant information was provided, the representation was withdrawn.

“All new glass has been vetted and approved by Lancashire Police and is accredited to both EU and British Standard Glassware.”

PS Horton told the Post that his objection to the application to vary the license with regard to the toughened glassware had been successful.

He said: “Safety glass is glass which shatters into granules, not jagged glass. The Hesketh Arms has had toughened glass for years.

“It will now go on to use toughened glass. It’s just like a normal pint glass except when it breaks it goes into crumbs rather than jagged edges.

“Usually pubs readily agree to the licenses.

“We are not saying the Hesketh Arms is a bad pub. From what we can see it’s a well run pub but I had to make the case, the rationale, for them to keep the toughened glass.

“The company was mistaken in trying to replace the safety glass with plain glass and they’ve agreed to it in the end. So we have stopped them from moving away from toughened glass.”

In is objection to the Marston’s Brewery application PS Horton stated that ‘toughened glass is a common condition for premises that are strongly involved in the night time economy or the football economy, presenting an unusually high level of crime and disorder’.

Many pubs in Preston and in areas which are known for a more rowdy nightlife use toughed pint glasses.

“All the pubs in the night time economy have got Saturday and Friday issues,” said PS Horton. “It comes with the night time economy.

“Toughened glass makes it a safer place and less likely for people to get injured.”

Other conditions which can be put on pub licenses include installing CCTV cameras, having a set number of door staff in relation to the number of customers expected and a dispersal policy which PS Horton says is to ‘try and make sure people move on from outside the pub rather than a big group of people competing for the taxis in the city centre’.