A TOWN centre club could lose its licence after 200 New Year's Eve revellers were involved in a mass brawl which left one man knocked unconscious.

Police were scrambled as the fight reportedly broke out at Yates New Year’s Eve party inside the club shortly after 2am.

Just days later another mass incident involving 150 ‘agitated’ teenagers happened outside the club in Friar Street, prompting police to raise the alarm over the club’s licence.

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Thames Valley Police (TVP) are now calling for the council to immediately suspend the licence ahead of a full review.

Police officer Simon Wheeler said suspension is “the only method available to ensure public safety and the prevention of further serious crime and serious disorder”.

A police report has been filed to Reading Borough Council (RBC) who will decide whether to take any action at a meeting tomorrow.

Man knocked unconscious

TVP detailed in the report how the first fight broke out at about 2.05am on January 1 at a New Year’s Eve party on the first floor.

Police said it was reported that “200 people within the premises were fighting”.

One male was also knocked unconscious in the street after leaving the venue, according to police.

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The report described how several sporadic fights are believed to have taken place inside, as well as assaults on security staff and a police officer.

One police officer has provided video evidence that she was hit on the head during the mass brawl, as well as footage of overturned tables and chairs, and smashed glass.

Officers said the crowd were hostile throughout the incident and a police line had to be used to disperse the crowd, using more than 20 officers.

The New Year’s Eve party brawl prompted police to begin gathering evidence for a council review of Yates’ license.


150 teenagers “in agitated state”

PC Wheeler describes to the council how just days later officers discovered a large crowd of teenagers aged between 16 and 18 on the pavement outside Yates “in an agitated state” at around 9pm on January 4.

The force said teenagers were there for a private birthday party at the venue.

It reported that when the group were told they were unable to enter the premises, they refused to leave the area and ‘small pockets of disorder’ took place across Friar Street.

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Several underage teenagers are also said to have entered Yates, according to officers, with one parent telling TVP their 14-year-old son allegedly had “access to alcohol” inside the venue.

The force said the party organisers, who booked the venue, allegedly charged £2 wristbands for entry leaving a “large number of disgruntled teenagers” outside the club.

Thames Valley Police confirmed a dispersal order, which bans people from a certain area, was put in place giving officer’s extra powers to deal with the anti-social behaviour.

PC Wheeler said officers were able to maintain order but “this serious disorder should not have had the opportunity to occur”.

Urgent review

The council will hold a summary review of the venue tomorrow (Wednesday, January 8) at 10am.

Yates could have its licence suspended until a full review takes place to decide its long-term future.

Ahead of the meeting, PC Wheeler slammed the venue for failing to take action following the first incident on New Year’s Eve.

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He added that police attempted to address concerns with owners in summer 2019 regarding using external promoters, a lack of due diligence and allowing “high risk events”.

Another event is booked on January 11, which PC Wheeler said could lead to further incidents if the licence is not suspended beforehand.

PC Wheeler said, if the council decide not to suspend the licence, three things should happen:

  • Externally promoted events should be banned
  • Closing hours should change to 11.30pm, Monday-Sunday.
  • The immediate removal of the designate premises supervisor

The venue is currently open until 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, with opening times varying on different days of the week. However, the NYE event was advertised as finishing at 4am on Facebook.