Police closed Yellow and Red Lion hours before Crystal Palace game after learning Laurence Bassini had quit supervisor role

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Former Hornets owner Laurence Bassini outside the Yellow and Red Lion Former Hornets owner Laurence Bassini outside the Yellow and Red Lion

Police shut a Watford FC fans’ pub hours before the match against Crystal Palace FC after learning former Hornets owner Laurence Bassini was quitting as supervising manager.

Watford Chief Inspector Nick Caveney said he temporarily closed the Yellow and Red Lion as the Stanmore businessman’s decision left confusion over who was responsible for the venue.

The closure means the pub, in Vicarage Road, will now need to have its licence reviewed by Watford Borough Council.

In a report to the council, officers said Laurence Bassini had been designated premises supervisor (DPS) since April but had not been in the pub since it opened due to his status as a "figure of hate" among Watford FC fans.

Watford Borough Council said Mr Bassini had applied to be removed as DPS in January but the application was rejected as it did not include the statutory fee or premises licence.

John Corkett, a Hertfordshire Constabulary licensing officer, said police had concerns about the running of the Yellow and Red Lion under Mr Bassini prior to its closure.

In a report to the committee, Mr Corkett said: "Mr Bassini is unfortunately a figure of hate as far as Watford supporters are concerned.

"He has not set foot in the venue since it reopened for business under his tenure in April 2012. A DPS does not have to be physically present in a venue but it is preferable that he/she has some idea of what issues are apparent."

Mr Corkett said Mr Bassini had leased the premises to a "Mr A" who was running it, but did not have personal licence to sell alcohol.

He added: "As far as Hertfordshire Constabulary was concerned this was a very unsatisfactory state of affairs.

"It effectively meant that although Mr Bassini was not breaking the law by choosing to remain as DPS, he could not have any knowledge of issues arising and was so remote from day to day operations that he declined to be part of any process or dialogue with police to address licensing concerns.

"The venue is a potential flashpoint for disorder."

Mr Corkett said police had wanted to discuss issues around preventing disorder during the Crystal Palace match with Mr Bassini in the week before the fixture.

However the day before the match the force learned he wanted to relinquish his post of DPS.

Among the documents submitted to the council was a report from Watford Chief Inspector, Nick Caveney, explaining why he decided to shut the Yellow and Red Lion pub hours before the Crystal Palace match.

In his report, Chief Insepector Caveney said there had been other match day problems with the pub since it opened.

In October glass bottles thrown into and from the pubs ground before a Peterborough game. Away fans had also been spotted in the pub on separate occasions in December and January.

Chief Inspector Caveney was in charge of the police operation for the Crystal Palace match and said he was only informed about the lack of clarity surrounding the pub’s ownership on the morning of the game.

After meeting with "Mr A" he decided to close the pub using a section 161 order.

Chief Inspector Caveney cited the previous problems, the heightened risk of disorder at the Crystal Palace match and the management situation at the pub as reasons for its closure.

Following the incident Hertfordshire Constabulary is seeking to add a condition to the pub’s licence that someone with a personal licence to sell alcohol be present at the venue when Watford FC are playing.

Watford Borough Council is due to review the pub’s licence next week.

Comments (13)

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3:25pm Tue 19 Feb 13

TRT says...

Good job they didn't need to organise the works party at the brewery.
Good job they didn't need to organise the works party at the brewery. TRT
  • Score: 0

3:49pm Tue 19 Feb 13

andyandyandy says...

No idea why any Watford fan would drink in that pub while it has anything to do with that crook.
No idea why any Watford fan would drink in that pub while it has anything to do with that crook. andyandyandy
  • Score: 0

4:06pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Wrighty_Hornet says...

This bloke couldn't even organise a **** up in a brewery - literally!

In Pozzo's we trust!
This bloke couldn't even organise a **** up in a brewery - literally! In Pozzo's we trust! Wrighty_Hornet
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Tue 19 Feb 13

grahamtaylorismydad says...

Dodgy geezer....and talking of Big Bad Baz when on earth are the FL going to dish out our punishment, lets be 'avin you!
Dodgy geezer....and talking of Big Bad Baz when on earth are the FL going to dish out our punishment, lets be 'avin you! grahamtaylorismydad
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Tue 19 Feb 13

palmeris60 says...

This report is so inaccurate it is quite honestly not worth reading. Why didnt Mike approach Josh or Neil Price prior to writing it that way he could have written a balanced report. The pub has met all requirements asked of it.The issues raised by CI Caveney again have been reported incorrectly.The minor incident involving Peterborough fans was actually caused by no police presence in Vicarage Road 30 minutes prior to kick off.Photographs of the Peterborough youths who were responsible were passed to Peterborough United. Our local police to my knowledge didn't take teh matter further!As for away fans being allowed in the pub. Everyone who uses the pub knows this is inaccurate.The only issue to my knowledge occured when a visiting clubs coaches arrived early and one or two elderly fans asked to sit down in our pub because they were feeling unwell.They were then asked to leave.The pubs record is second to none!
This report is so inaccurate it is quite honestly not worth reading. Why didnt Mike approach Josh or Neil Price prior to writing it that way he could have written a balanced report. The pub has met all requirements asked of it.The issues raised by CI Caveney again have been reported incorrectly.The minor incident involving Peterborough fans was actually caused by no police presence in Vicarage Road 30 minutes prior to kick off.Photographs of the Peterborough youths who were responsible were passed to Peterborough United. Our local police to my knowledge didn't take teh matter further!As for away fans being allowed in the pub. Everyone who uses the pub knows this is inaccurate.The only issue to my knowledge occured when a visiting clubs coaches arrived early and one or two elderly fans asked to sit down in our pub because they were feeling unwell.They were then asked to leave.The pubs record is second to none! palmeris60
  • Score: 0

4:33pm Tue 19 Feb 13

LSC says...

@palmeris60
I have visited the pub on many occasions when I had a relative in the hospital. I have no idea about the ownership or what goes on on match days.
I simply speak as I find. Decent pub, decent grub, clean, and friendly service. That is what people want and long may you continue to give it.
@palmeris60 I have visited the pub on many occasions when I had a relative in the hospital. I have no idea about the ownership or what goes on on match days. I simply speak as I find. Decent pub, decent grub, clean, and friendly service. That is what people want and long may you continue to give it. LSC
  • Score: 0

4:38pm Tue 19 Feb 13

jsjf1979 says...

please stop using that ugly photo! Never want to see that mug again...
please stop using that ugly photo! Never want to see that mug again... jsjf1979
  • Score: 0

6:37pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Mickey Quinn, not so thin says...

How typical that he forgot to include the fee when he sent the application !
How typical that he forgot to include the fee when he sent the application ! Mickey Quinn, not so thin
  • Score: 0

6:47pm Tue 19 Feb 13

WessexLad says...

Unsatisfactory, but still an over-reaction. As LSC says, it has deprived the hospital of a useful facility six days/week, and on matchdays there has only been the isolated incident. Many bars in town gives rise to major incidents every Friday and Saturday night.

I don't know the terms of the lease, but if it's a fixed fee, then Bas does not gain by Watford fans patronising it. Andy is entitled to his opinion, but then so too are the very many Hornet fans who find it a convenient place to meet and share a pint on match days.
Unsatisfactory, but still an over-reaction. As LSC says, it has deprived the hospital of a useful facility six days/week, and on matchdays there has only been the isolated incident. Many bars in town gives rise to major incidents every Friday and Saturday night. I don't know the terms of the lease, but if it's a fixed fee, then Bas does not gain by Watford fans patronising it. Andy is entitled to his opinion, but then so too are the very many Hornet fans who find it a convenient place to meet and share a pint on match days. WessexLad
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Tue 19 Feb 13

janjan57 says...

i went into the pub on Peterboro game no visiting supporters seen. trouble outside with little boys from Peterboro and NO police. Mr B not been near pub for nearly a year, and he wouldnt dare with to many hostile fans.
Please Mike do a second report which is more accurate.
i went into the pub on Peterboro game no visiting supporters seen. trouble outside with little boys from Peterboro and NO police. Mr B not been near pub for nearly a year, and he wouldnt dare with to many hostile fans. Please Mike do a second report which is more accurate. janjan57
  • Score: 0

8:33pm Tue 19 Feb 13

In GT We Trust says...

Surely him ceasing to be the 'designated premises supervisor' improves the quality of management at the venue...

On a more serious note, while he continues to have any financial relationship with the pub then its success is more likely to increase the value of the freehold so people will boycott. The sooner Josh & Neil Price are rid of their landlord the better.
Surely him ceasing to be the 'designated premises supervisor' improves the quality of management at the venue... On a more serious note, while he continues to have any financial relationship with the pub then its success is more likely to increase the value of the freehold so people will boycott. The sooner Josh & Neil Price are rid of their landlord the better. In GT We Trust
  • Score: 0

7:59am Wed 20 Feb 13

tonyevans22 says...

Vicarage Road is about football,who gives a hoot about the pub,have a beer inside the ground and proceeds will go towards the club and not to bas.
Vicarage Road is about football,who gives a hoot about the pub,have a beer inside the ground and proceeds will go towards the club and not to bas. tonyevans22
  • Score: 0

9:20am Wed 20 Feb 13

Roy Stockdill says...

Isn't putting a man who went bankrupt over a pub not that long ago (do I have to remind people?) in charge of another one a bit like putting Count Dracula in charge of a blood bank or a shark in charge of a swimming pool?

Fans may be upset over the closure on a match day, but could I remind folks that licensing laws are strict and have to be strictly observed and enforced and if the police weren't sure who was supposed to be in charge because the documentation wasn't there, then they were probably justified in closing it.

Surely the only way for the situation to be resolved is for all sides, including whoever does own the pub and whoever is managing it, to sit down and sort it out when the licence is reviewed?
Isn't putting a man who went bankrupt over a pub not that long ago (do I have to remind people?) in charge of another one a bit like putting Count Dracula in charge of a blood bank or a shark in charge of a swimming pool? Fans may be upset over the closure on a match day, but could I remind folks that licensing laws are strict and have to be strictly observed and enforced and if the police weren't sure who was supposed to be in charge because the documentation wasn't there, then they were probably justified in closing it. Surely the only way for the situation to be resolved is for all sides, including whoever does own the pub and whoever is managing it, to sit down and sort it out when the licence is reviewed? Roy Stockdill
  • Score: 0

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