A SOCIAL club faces being stripped of its licence after dozens of police officers were called out from up to 25 miles away to control a “mass brawl”.
Up to 60 drinkers were said to have been involved in the disturbance at the Dalkeith Miners’ Welfare Social Club, with police calling for back-up from every station in East and Midlothian. There were even reports of an armed response unit turning up.
One officer was injured before the situation was brought under control, with four arrests eventually made.
The club, which faced a licensing hearing last year after a string of previous incidents, is now set to be hauled before councillors again to decide on its future.
Details of the drama emerged as police produced a new list of 42 incidents over the past year at the club’s premises in Woodburn Road.
Police refused to reveal how many officers were called in to regain control, although it is understood several dozen were involved. The “divisional assistance shout” meant officers were called in from 25 miles away in Dunbar.
The police report said: “A police patrol observed several small skirmishes, which deteriorated into a large-scale disturbance involving between 50 and 60 persons. Four arrests were made. However, there could have been significantly more arrested.”
Club secretary George Munro said it had been “blown out of all proportion”.
“I believe even the firearms squad was called out that night and there was no reason for doing that.
“Somebody cut their hand in the club and he was treated there. But he refused an ambulance, refused a taxi and exited the club. He refused to leave the area and, because it was nearly closing time, a lot of people were coming out and I think the man’s friends became involved.”
He added: “Forty-two incidents in a year sounds a lot, but you have to remember that we have between 500 and 600 people in the club every week.”
Councillor Alex Burnett, whose ward covers the town, said closing the club would be bad news for the community. He said: “I think it will rip the guts out of Dalkeith if they lose the licence. They do a lot for the community.”
A police spokesman saidthe response had been “proportionate”.