Celebrity Chelsea bar under fire after police called to four fights in a year

A celebrity bar owned by former footballer Lee Chapman and Men Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash has had its opening hours cut after a fight over a stolen handbag escalated into a battle with police.

Kensington and Chelsea council imposed the restricted hours on Juju, which has hosted Olly Murs, Emeli Sandé and Conor Maynard, after police were called to four fights in the past year. The King’s Road club hosts fetish and burlesque events and regularly posts about celebrity clientele including Joey Essex and the cast of Made In Chelsea on social media - writes standard.co.uk

But the venue, which won best late-night bar in 2014, has now had its licence to sell alcohol restricted to 1am every day with a strict closing time of 1.30am. Its previous hours were 4am on Thursday and 2.30am on Friday and Saturday nights.

The move came after police triggered an urgent review due to the four violent episodes, which left nearby residents “scared to walk home”. In the latest brawl, police had to call back-up and raise their batons after they were prevented from making an arrest by a mob spilling out of the club.

Haunt:EmeliSandéhas been hosted at the bar (SteveGillett/Livepix)

A victim called police after his friend’s handbag, containing about £1,500 in cash, was thought to have been stolen, and on confronting the alleged thief he was punched in the face.

The suspect managed to flee after his friends circled a police officer and openly challenged him to fight. The suspect was involved in a car crash later that night. Pc Gary Watkinson said in his statement that he was met with “fierce resistance” when he arrived to the call of an assault inside Juju at 1.40am on February 3.

He said: “My colleagues and I were prevented from detaining the suspect by a large hostile crowd.” Chapman, 58, a former striker for Arsenal, West Ham and Leeds, who lives minutes from the venue, was removed as the designated premises supervisor at a council licence sub-committee meeting. Chapman, who also runs the SO:UK cocktail bar with his wife Ash, 58, in Clapham, said cutting the hours would mean the business “wouldn’t survive”. He added: “We don’t want the police coming down with their sirens waking up and upsetting our neighbours.”

Chapman said they would be appealing against the council’s decision: “It needs to be stressed that this decision does not take effect until such time that any appeal is determined and as such will not affect our current opening hours.”

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