‘Ghastly’ bar shut after drugs, petrol attack and assaults

A ‘GHASTLY’ Weston bar, which became home to drug raids, a petrol attack and an assault which left a man in a coma, will not reopen following a licensing hearing.

Hotshotz bar, in Meadow Street, had its licence temporarily suspended last month by North Somerset Council following police advice after they discovered suspected class A and B drugs on site.

Licensee holder Kashmira Johal was stripped of his contract by pub management company GRS last week, who said they were unaware of any bad publicity involving the bar before early December.

The review panel, consisting of councillors Ian Porter, Jill Iles and John Crockford-Hawley, agreed to GRS’ request for the licence to be surrendered.

Police were called more than 60 times between January and November this year, including to one incident where a woman was doused in petrol in July and another in September which left a man in a coma for several weeks.

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Chief Inspector Jeffrey Foreman’s statement said there had been 12 assaults in Hotshotz, with one leaving a man possibly with ‘life changing’ injuries.

He said frequent meetings with Mr Johal had failed to improve the bar’s reputation.

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Hotshotz was one of several addresses targeted by Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Operation Relentless drug crackdown in November. Suspected class A and B drugs found both in the bar area and in Mr Johal’s upstairs flat. The drugs were seized, as was �10,000 in cash.

One anonymous business owner who worked nearby said Hotshotz cast a poor reflection upon the town and said it was having a negative effect on his company.

David Clayton, who visited the bar on ‘numerous occasions’ for GRS, said his 30-minute visits had failed to reveal any problems.

When quizzed by Cllr Crockford-Hawley, he said he had never smelled any drugs on site.

Mr Clayton said the company would review its contract management and described the situation as ‘most unusual for us’.

But Cllr Crockford-Hawley said GRS’ intervention was too late and questioned how rigorous its review process had been.

He said it was a ‘ghastly premises, extremely badly run’ and asked Mr Clayton why he had not stayed in Weston and seen the problems that everyone else in the town knew about.

Mr Clayton said the long-term future of the premises remained uncertain and it could soon be boarded up or sold.

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