Luke King says that there needs to be more policing on Bridge Street. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Carnage on Bridge Street

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Luke King was working at a Bridge Street bar when he noticed a puddle of liquid running past his feet.

He looked up and saw a man chuckling to himself, and went up to him.

“You can’t do that,” Luke said. “You just pissed on the floor.”

The man turned to him and said: “You have a problem?”

The man had been part of a group of 20-odd people all drinking at the bar at about 11pm two Fridays ago.

Before he knew it, Luke was surrounded by the man’s friends – then one of them tried to headbutt him. He missed, but then they all piled on as Luke tried to stay standing.

“All his mates were all in. It would have been the most violent minute I’ve ever dealt with.”

Every time he popped up, he got hit in the face. Someone tried to cut him with a glass. The swelling has only recently gone down.

CCTV footage seen by the Nelson Weekly confirms Luke’s account.

Eventually, punters and staff managed to drag the men off each other but not before some of the females of the group tried to get Luke outside to face a group of them.

“That’s the mentality we are dealing with. It’s gang mentality, it’s thug mentality.”

Luke says that such problems are rare inside bars – it is outside where they can no long control it where it becomes a problem.

“If there were two cops posted to the street then that doesn’t happen.”

Luke says he believes the police generally do a good job and he supports them, but “there is something about that street”.

Police arrested and charged one person with the attack.

Corey Taylor, who owns Little Rock and Taylor’s, says that bars and clubs are unfairly targeted in the debate around alcohol and violence.

The fight which Luke experienced was not at one of Taylor’s establishments, but he says that it is supermarkets where the trouble starts.

“It’s not breaking news; everyone knows that it starts with cheap alcohol at supermarkets where people buy cheap booze get drunk and then it’s us who have to deal with people.

“The problems aren’t inside the venue; the problem is the drunk ones who can’t get in and go wandering the streets looking for ‘entertainment’.”

Corey says many of the bar and club owners work together on issues.

“Certain proprietors are a bit rogue and give the rest of us a bad name. Most are pretty good and I’m sure they all get frustrated by the same things.”