A THUG who caused havoc in pubs and clubs around the city has been banned from every licensed premises in Exeter.
Joshua Cole, 22, of Windermere Close, in Exwick, Exeter, has been prohibited from setting foot inside more than 100 bars and restaurants across the city.
The unusual step to ban an individual from licensed premises was taken after a court heard about Cole's behaviour at city nightspots.
He appeared before Exeter Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to assaulting victim Iain Curran by beating him. The attack happened at around midnight at the General Buller, in St Thomas. The 22-year-old headbutted Mr Curran in an unprovoked assault, sparking a mass brawl in the pub.
Detective Constable Ian Stairs, who put forward the recommendation to the court that Cole be banned from licensed premises, said: "This particular incident happened at the General Buller in St Thomas.
"Everything was fine in the pub, then Joshua Cole decided to headbutt an individual at the bar. This was a man unknown to him and a completely unprovoked attack, which sparked a massive brawl involving everyone in the bar. Cole was chased around the pub and threw a bar stool at another man. It ended up in complete mayhem because of what he did.
"He has done this sort of thing before. Every pub he goes into, he tends to get out of hand – it's become an issue."
Licensing officer at Devon and Cornwall Police John Bean told the Echo it was unusual for someone to be banned from every licensed premises.
"It is rare to ban someone from every pub, club and restaurant but it has been done before," he said. "We would always hope that magistrates would support the police and the licensees for somebody who resorts to violence to be banned from licensed premises."
Det Con Stairs added: "This sends out a message that this behaviour won't be tolerated.
"People are out to have a good time and they don't want an individual of this type to spoil their evening. It is great that the magistrates have taken this matter seriously and taken positive action towards this kind of behaviour. It is quite an unusual step to ban someone from all licensed premises."
Joint chairman of Exeter Night-time Economy Group and city centre manager John Harvey said he welcomed the banning order: "It is a welcome signal from the courts that this sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable."
Cole's ban will last for six months and he also received a community order which will see him have to carry out 130 hours of unpaid work.
Police said they were unable to release a photograph of Cole as the pub ban was issued as part of a civil order, not a criminal order.