CLOSING TIME: City police shut down hotel

ONE of Tamworth’s prominent CBD hotels has been shut down for 72 hours in an unprecedented move by police and the courts.

DOORS CLOSED: Senior Oxley police, pictured from back, including Inspector Paul Johnson, Inspector Jeff Budd and Sergeant Graeme Elms, leave The Albert Hotel yesterday afternoon after issuing the forced-closure notice. Photo: Barry Smith 191214BSD08

DOORS CLOSED: Senior Oxley police, pictured from back, including Inspector Paul Johnson, Inspector Jeff Budd and Sergeant Graeme Elms, leave The Albert Hotel yesterday afternoon after issuing the forced-closure notice. Photo: Barry Smith 191214BSD08

The war on alcohol-related violence in the city appears to be the catalyst in the forced shutdown of The Albert Hotel in Peel St, which was only this month named and shamed on the state’s most violent pubs and clubs list.

At 4pm yesterday, Oxley’s senior police moved in on the licensed venue, serving a short-term closure notice.

“This notice was issued by the local court,” Oxley Inspector Jeff Budd told The Leader in a short statement.

“The courts issued the order as a result of a police application outlining ongoing violence and associated issues.”

The forced closure is the first of its kind in Tamworth in six years, after the Fitzroy Hotel was shut down in September 2008.

The Leader understands the closure follows several incidents, including the alleged assault of a police officer who has been hospitalised.

One man has been charged with allegedly bashing a female senior constable who tried to arrest the 23-year-old West Tamworth man out the front of The Albert Hotel on December 12.

The male, who appeared to be heavily affected by alcohol or drugs, was spoken to by the officer who had been flagged down by another, but allegedly threw a punch at the officer and missed before he was arrested.

The man resisted a bout of capsicum spray and allegedly struck the policewoman in the chest and punched her, swinging her to the ground where she landed heavily on the pavement.

The man was eventually arrested after trying to flee and was charged with three offences including two counts of assaulting police and one of offensive conduct.

The officer involved has since been hospitalised with a serious injury to her arm as a result of the alleged attack.

Oxley police have confirmed they will continue to work with management of The Albert.

“We will absolutely be assisting the manager, the licensee of the hotel to run a good establishment,” Inspector Budd said.

The short-term closure prohibits the hotel from trading for three days and comes amidst the busy Christmas party/silly season.

The hotel had been expected to attract hundreds of people on the Tamworth Santa Pub Crawl last night before the trading restriction was enforced.

The closure notice has also been served one year on from the introduction of tough alcohol measures by the Liquor Accord, including a 12.30am lockout and a ban on shots and high-energy alcohol drinks.

“The Tamworth community and crime prevention committee, the Tamworth Liquor Accord and Oxley LAC police have achieved great things in the last 12 months with implementation of liquor accord conditions. Suffice to say we’ve had a 38 per cent reduction in alcohol-related violence, which is outstanding,” Inspector Budd said. 

“And that validates the fear of the community and links to alcohol-related violence.”

The Albert Hotel is prohibited from trading until 4pm on Monday.

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