Licence under review at Birkenhead pub amid reports of crime

A Wirral bar could be stripped of its licence over reports of crime and disorder.

The Monkey’s Nuts, previously called the Lion Tavern, on Market Street in Birkenhead is having its licence reviewed after a request was made to Wirral Council following reports of serious crime and disorder at the premises.

The council has temporarily suspended the pub’s licence ahead of a hearing that took place on 30 April.

The public and the press were excluded from the licensing meeting after Merseyside Police requested it be held privately as it relates to an ongoing investigation. Wirral councillors will decide whether to make changes to the pub’s licence, leave it as it is, or remove it altogether.

A Wirral Council report, seen by the LDRS, said a number of complaints had been received since the current licence holder had taken over the pub, which “include allegations of noise emanating from the premises, drug-dealing taking place at the premises, drug taking by customers of the premises, and the premises opening beyond the hours permitted on their licence.”

Police made the request for a review following reports of serious crime and disorder including a firearms incident on Thursday, 28 March. The police representation, provided to the LDRS by Wirral Council, said the bar was “seriously undermining” the aims of its licence.

The pub was recently taken over by the Monkey Nuts Pub Ltd which was set up in January 2024. Roger George Jones is the sole director of Monkey Nuts Pub Ltd after Gareth Liam Furneyo resigned on 1 February according to records filed with Companies House.

According to a document from Wirral Council’s licensing department also seen by the LDRS, 18 complaints have been received with 13 of these after the company took over the pub. The other five have been received since Mr Jones and another individual took over the running of the business before this.

The council said it contacted the previous licence holder on 24 January who said he had “nothing to do with the business and only “put his name on it to help a mate out,” had had no involvement in the running the premises and had “no idea what was going on”. He said Mr Jones and another individual had been running the bar.

On 25 January, Wirral Council and Merseyside Police licensing officers met with a manager of the bar who said Mr Jones was the boss “running the place” and the premises was his “baby”. The manager reportedly said the business was purchased at Christmas from someone with links to the previous person responsible for the licence.

On 26 January, the previous licence holder gave up the licence which meant the pub no longer had a licence to sell alcohol. On 14 February, an application was made to transfer it to Monkey Nuts Pub Ltd. This said both Mr Furneyo and Mr Jones were company directors despite Companies House stating Mr Furneyo had resigned.

As it has not been filled out correctly, this application wasn’t valid and a second application was made on 15 February which asked for Tracy Williams to be appointed to oversee and hold the licence.

On 20 March, Ms Williams was contacted following a visit to the pub after a complaint was made. Officers said they would need to look at any CCTV and no issues were reportedly raised at the time.

The next day, officers noticed a number of licence conditions were not being carried out and were told CCTV was only available from 7.45pm the previous day. Ms Williams reportedly said this was due to a fault with the hard drive which had only been spotted after officers said they needed to look at the CCTV.

Licensing officers in the council said they supported the police’s request for a review citing “noise issues suffered by local residents” and “acts of violence that have occurred inside and outside of the premises”. It said the pub’s running was “irresponsible” and fails “to operate in a manner consistent with providing a safe environment for their customers and neighbours”.

A private limited company, The Monkey Nuts Pub Ltd, was set up at the pub’s address in January 2024. The company currently has one director, Roger George Jones, who has previously been approached for comment.

Image: Monkey’s Nuts on Market Street, Birkenhead

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