Police probe for rock pub team

The Fleece pub in Ashton
The Fleece pub in Ashton

Police have launched a criminal investigation into the owners of a controversial rock pub which had its licence revoked.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed a probe is under way into those in charge of The Fleece in Ashton after officers gave shocking evidence to a Wigan Council committee.

The documentation notice published after the hearing includes evidence that police officers believe they were deliberately lied to by staff covering up the grievous list of failings at the venue.

Police evidence also clearly suggests pub owner David Williams obtained the venue fraudulently.

A GMP representative told the licensing committee the force believes staff colluded in falsely claiming the supervisor responsible for improving standards at The Fleece was off work.

The notice document says: “The police were of the view that this was said with a view to deceiving GMP as to the situation regarding the management of the premises.

“As well as a disregard for the licensing objectives the police were of the view that this also demonstrated a willingness to lie with a view to presenting a level of compliance that was not there.

“In the statement from the previous licence holder she detailed how Mr Williams became involved in the premises and what she said suggested a clear offence of fraud.”

A GMP spokesman confirmed there is an ongoing criminal investigation.

A council officer described the pub’s management to the committee as “a shambles”.

The revelation comes as the licence holder prepares to appeal the committee’s decision. Hearings will be held at the magistrates’ court on March 20 and April 18.