SECURITY guards with dogs have been enlisted to help at a Basingstoke hotel, thought to be there to help to help manage a “drunk and abusive” group staying a second night.
As previously reported, police were called to The Crowne Plaza last night to a “large group gathering”.
However, Hampshire Constabulary said the group had dispersed by the time police arrived and therefore no enforcement action was taken.
It is understood the group is staying at the hotel in Old Common Road for a second night tonight.
When the Gazette went there this evening, a dog unit van was parked up outside and security guards were patrolling the hotel with dogs on leads.
A sign had been put up at the bar advising that it was closed after ‘running out of stock’.
Numerous people were wandering around outside and inside.
The hotel’s general manager Peter Bartlett said that things were “under control” but declined to comment further at this stage.
He previously told the Gazette that police had worked with him yesterday on a “management plan, ahead of a potential situation”.
It is not known how many people are in the group staying at the hotel or why they are there.
A guest at the Crowne Plaza praised staff for handling the situation last night, describing the group as “drunken and abusive”.
Posting on the Gazette website he said: “I witnessed situations that no person should have to be subjected to in their own workplace.
“Credit to the staff there for continually diffusing flash points throughout the evening in a very tiring and stressful environment.”
Under current coronavirus restrictions, hotels are only able to open to guests for work, education or other legally permitted reason before May 17.
This could include providing accommodation for those attending a funeral or commemorative event.
The hotel manager has provided the following statement since this article was first published: “Management at Crowne Plaza Basingstoke confirm that up to 30 rooms were booked with guests attending the event in Micheldever this weekend. All rooms were individually booked on third party websites with a range of arrival dates and all were contacted in line with Covid 19 protocols. A range of permitted travel reasons were given and availability was closed when the number of guests attending a funeral gave reason for concern with respect to Covid-19 risk.
“When it was clear that there was the potential of a more significant event, hotel management contacted the police. Contact was established through the licensing officer who attended on Friday 30th April to review the management plan and police contact and support arrangements.
“On the evening of Friday 30th, the senior manger on duty implemented a planned closure of the bar when it became clear that it would no longer be possible to maintain Covid-19 protocols. The plan was to include police presence but their attendance was delayed and the hotel team effected this closure with a two man security team before two police officers were able to respond to our call.
“The management team decided not to reopen the bar on Saturday 1st May and informed the police of this decision in line with the agreed plan. With evident strain on police resources, security arrangements were increased and hotel availability remained closed with only 22% of rooms occupied.
“The actions and professional conduct of the duty manager and team were nothing short of remarkable on the challenging evening of Friday 30th April. Additional measures made Saturday 1st May relatively quiet.
“The impact of the event in Micheldever will have been significant across the majority of hotels and venues in the region and it came without notice from organisers or authorities.”