A PUB which had its licence suspended after a catalogue of violent incidents will re-open next week.

The White Lion, in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, was forced to close its doors after Essex Police linked it to 15 criminal incidents in the last 12 months including seven incidents of ABH and three of common assaults.

In the latest incident, on Halloween, a man entered the pub with two CS gas cannisters and began indiscriminately spraying customers.

He is said to have sprayed two men in the face causing injury before being assaulted himself by the two men who punched him in the head.

Two PCSOs attending the scene were then themselves assaulted by drinkers at the pub.

Speaking at the licensing hearing to decide on the pub's fate, pub owner McMullen & Sons' solicitor Clare Eames said the White Lion's landlady Kim Johnson had now been removed from her post and banned from entering the premises.

Miss Eames said her clients had agreed with the police a long list of interim measures to be fulfilled before re-opening including reduced hours, CCTV installation and security staff.

She added: “Obviously in our submission that's a pretty robust set of measures. We have already requested further meetings with the police to make sure all ongoing issues are addressed.”

Councillor Ricki Gadsby said: “I've never been in that pub but I just want to know why head office have taken so long. I also want to know how you are going to change the rough and tough clientèle there. You have got a lot of work ahead of you.”

McMullen''s commercial director Steven Gill replied: “I think we were working reasonably quickly. The scale of events in recent weeks means things have happened in a short period of time.”

Speaking for Essex Police, solicitor Nicholas Sykes said: “The police do agree the premises licence holder takes its job seriously. It's refreshing they take such responsibility. We all accept that on an interim basis the precautions are necessary and proportionate. We all hope it achieves the job and if it doesn't we'll be back in a couple of weeks and you can guess what we'd be asking for.”

After discussion the district council's licensing sub-committee panel agreed to remove the temporary suspension it had previously installed on November 5.

New interim measures added included: the premises remains closed until a McMullen manager is in place, hours are reduced to stop serving at 12pm, alcohol to not be consumed outside the premises, CCTV installed, the side entrance to be closed after 9pm, and on Friday and Saturday for a member of security staff to be present from 9pm till 1am.

Licensing sub-committee chairwoman Penny Smith said: “Obviously you have had a fairly exercising time since the last week or so. It's been refreshing for us as panel members to hear that you have worked together and addressed these very, very serious concerns.”

Miss Eames said the pub would re-open after the weekend.

The pub will face a mandatory review within the next 21 days.


October 30 a woman had a bottle thrown at her head by another woman bruising her forehead

October 23 police were called to a brawl involving around 30 men outside the pub at 10.58pm. One man suffered a large gash to his head but refused to give police any details. The window to Lisa N Girls at 26 Sun Street was smashed during the incident causing £500 of damage

October 17 men believed to be from the White Lion were involved in a fight at the back of the nearby Coop which had to be dispersed by police. An officer's radio was smashed leading to an arrest for criminal damage. A man was arrested for possession of cannabis, another was issued with a penalty notice for disorder

May 11 A man was punched in the face and had his nose broken

April 14 The manager was assaulted

March 7 Landlord grabbed by the neck. At the same time a man being ejected from the premises threw a beer glass which struck a woman on the back of the head causing bruising

February 8 A man punched another man in the face causing a swollen lip. He then threatened to kidnap him.

January 17 Man arrested outside the pub for carrying a four foot piece of wood with three nails sticking out. Another man arrested for drink-driving.