THE COUNCIL has cut a nightclub’s opening hours after bouncers allegedly stole a man’s Rolex watch.

TOWIE favourite Essex House, in Chingford, had its 2am Friday and Saturday licence cut back to 1am by the council last night (May 18).

The licence review followed the council’s shock move last month to order the club’s closure after an assault which left a man with “significant head injuries”.

Owner of Essex House, David King, said he “respects the decision” but admitted he fears for the future of the bar.

The council’s decision to extend Essex House’s licence to 2am in October, last year, lasted just five months before a fight between two groups of revellers broke out in the early hours of Easter Monday (April 17).

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Essex House owners Scott Cummins and David King

In the commotion, the victim alleges he was offered drugs by the suspect before being punched and kicked to the floor.

At this point, he said bouncers dragged him out the rear fire escape into the alleyway, where there is no CCTV, and stole his Rolex watch.

Mr King said it’s “never acceptable” when someone gets hurt in his club, but said “it’s a place where things can happen”.

He added: “We are very disappointed, I don’t think the extra hour would have a made a difference to the incident.

“It wasn’t drug or drunk-related, the incident was random and could have happened in Tesco.

“The reality is people don’t want to come out until 1am.

“Our footfall was 35 per cent down before we got our 2am extension plus 40 per cent down on our takings.

“It affects our profitability and may well mean cutting our ship and making some redundancies, which is a shame.”

Under the conditions of the new licence, Mr King was made to hire a new security company and told he must be present at the club on Friday and Saturday nights.

He said: “It’s my business and I want to be there but it’s impractical to think I can’t have a single week off.

“The only time I can’t be there is in case of emergency or for something pre-arranged.

“I’m a grown up man and last week I had to ask for permission to go to my daughter’s dance show.

“I’m not a convicted criminal.”