PUBS are increasing security in a bid to avoid scenes of violence as they fear teenagers being banned from boozing at a popular pub could see trouble spread elsewhere. 

The Hoy and Helmet, on High Street, Benfleet, made the decision to ban under-21s from drinking at the pub, following a huge brawl on Friday night which saw 50 to 70 people involved in a fight and police launch an investigation. 

Councillors, residents and businesses have all supported the move, insisting the pub is right to ban youngsters and prevent scenes of violence repeating themselves. 

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However it has sparked fears that trouble could just move elsewhere, with bosses at The Half Crown, the pub directly opposite, increasing security over fears youngsters could switch to their venue. 

Manager Teresa Masic said: “We are worried trouble could come to our pub.

“The situation at the Hoy went completely out of hand, they couldn’t control it, and this isn’t the first incident, so we are on high alert anyway recently.

“We are not going to go over-21s only, as we do have regular youngsters who are absolutely fine, responsible, and never given us problems, so we wouldn’t be banning people like that.

“We always follow the rules in making sure we do not have any under-18s at certain times, and if there is a 16 or 17-year-old, they need to be with an adult.

“Since the incident we have requested to increase the number of door supervisors, especially for this weekend, to make sure we keep safe.

“But we are just going to have to wait and see if it affects us, and take it as it comes, but we are worried they may come to us.”

Last Friday police confirmed their was a brawl of around “50-70” people, starting in the Hoy and Helmet pub. 

Steven Cole, deputy leader of Castle Point Council, is concerned trouble may just spread elsewhere following the change, and that those causing the trouble could be gangs from outside of the area.

He said: “It will cause trouble elsewhere, like in the Half Crown pub opposite, instead.

“So we are going to have to start looking into speaking to all the other publicans in the area to make a plan. If there are people stepping out of line they should be banned from all pubs in Castle Point or Benfleet, or else they will move from one to another.

“Whenever we get to the summer holidays there are always issues, such as the cross-country drugs lines and it would not surprise me if this is what happened here.

“An outside gang potentially moved in, and started on a few locals in the pub, who have then retaliated, and it has escalated from there.

“It is something we need to be aware of an keep an eye on, as outside gangs need to know Castle Point won’t be having this, and we won’t be having these incidents in our area, or our pubs.”

“We are going to have to start looking into speaking to all the other publicans, and if these people reoccur, and do step out of line, then we ban them, otherwise we will have the worry and concern they will just move to another.”