Sheffield drugs factory building promise was ‘broken’

Drugs bust: The former Fortuna nightclub on Attercliffe Road has a chequered history.
Drugs bust: The former Fortuna nightclub on Attercliffe Road has a chequered history.

RESIDENTS and businesses near the scene of Sheffield’s largest cannabis bust have accused the authorities of breaking their promise to keep tabs on the building because of its violent history.

The former Fontana nightclub on Attercliffe Road was raided by officers who recovered nearly 2,000 cannabis plants worth £1.9 million on Friday.

The club was shut down last year after a dossier of evidence, compiled by police and presented to Sheffield Council’s licensing boad revealed a history of violent brawls.

Locals said when the Chinese karaoke bar which followed was granted its licence officials promised to keep watch on the building.

One local businesswoman said: “At the time the karaoke bar got its licence lots of concerns were raised because of what had happened with Fontana beforehand and the police and council assured us checks would be carried out and they would keep a close eye on the building.

She added: “Obviously that hasn’t happened if 2,000 cannabis plants have been growing in there.”

Steve Morgan, 55, said: “If they kept local community pubs open none of this would be happening but the east end of Sheffield is just getting forgotten about - people are getting away with things like this because nobody is interested.”

The venue, formerly the Dog and Partridge pub, became Goodfellas Gentleman’s Club before it was reincarnated as the Fontana.

Insp Glen Suttenwood of South Yorkshire Police said: “Some months ago we acted on information that drugs production was taking place at the premises on Attercliffe Road. The Gangs Enforcement Team conducted a raid but no cannabis was found.

He added: “Last week we acted on new information regarding the same premises, gathering intelligence and conducting another raid which was enormously successful.”