A TOWN CENTRE bar has escaped having its licence suspended but will have to follow tough conditions set out by Merseyside Police.

Police had requested temporarily withdrawing the licence of Havana Bar and Restaurant, on Ormskirk Street and for Kambiz Karoonian to be removed as the licence holder.

It followed a series of breaches, including the sale of alcohol to under 18s.

In September 2013 a 15-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl bought booze, while in January 2014 a 17-year-old boy was served after using an expired passport belonging to a boy, aged 12.

During the hearing of St Helens Council's licensing sub committee, Merseyside Police also outlined cases of glasses being taken outside and the loud music being played from external speakers.

Police also outlined how the bar was unable to produce CCTV footage from August last year in which an off-duty doorman had become involved in an assault. Concerns were also raised over the completion of the door supervisor register.

Police alleged licence conditions were "continually ignored" and Mr Karoonian "appeared to have no control of the management of the premises or staff members".

However, David Crank, representing Mr Karoonian, acknowledged there had been failures that did not paint his client in the "best light" but said these were being addressed.

He said: “In relation to the selling of underage alcohol, following the first incident the manager underwent disciplinary proceedings and was dismissed in October.

“In January there was a failure where the staff tried to follow the policy of testing but didn’t do it properly. The staff member was disciplined and issued a financial penalty.

“There has been no underage drinking incidents since January 2014 and training has been in place.

“There is also no practical way of playing music outside now and posters have been placed in the premises stating that no glasses are allowed outside.

“Mr Karoonian has had some personal issues which may have caused him to be not as effective as he would want to be.

“It is a business he is committed to and he will look to make sure it operates correctly.”

However, the committee made the decision to remove Mr Karoonian as the designated premises supervisor and enforce conditions upon the licence.

Mr Karoonian has 21 days to appeal. Councillors had rejected an application by the licensee's legal team for the hearing to be held in private, which would have excluded the Star from proceedings.