A STUDENT union bar manager with a history of violence towards police has been granted a personal licence to sell alcohol after telling licensing bosses he was a changed man.

A meeting of East Lothian Council's licensing board earlier today (Thursday) was asked to consider granting a personal licence to Gareth Fender, who works at Queen Margaret University’s student union.

However, Police Scotland urged the board to refuse the licence, presenting a record of Mr Fender’s previous offending.

Although details of the crimes were not made public during the meeting, Sgt Rachel Stark told the board that Mr Fender’s conviction history demonstrated “a high level of uncontrolled violence towards uniformed police officers in the past and showed an unstable and volatile temperament”.

She said: “In light of the above [history], the Chief Constable feels it is necessary for the licence to be refused.”

Mr Fender, who attended the virtual meeting, acknowledged his past, telling the board that he had struggled in the past with mental health and alcohol issues.

He said: “I am not that person any more.

“I was going through some severe mental health issues back then and it did not help that I was drinking.

"For the last five years, I have been on stable medication and don't have the mood swings any more. I have been sober for four years.”

The board heard that Mr Fender managed the student union bar and a personal licence would allow him to keep the premise open later without a colleague with a premises licence present.

He added that he had been working at the union bar for more than three years.

After a short private discussion, the board agreed to grant the licence.

Councillor Lachlan Bruce, chairperson, said: “We have taken into full consideration information from Police Scotland but it is good to hear the changes that have been made since then.

“Having worked almost four years in a licensed premises with no issues as evidence of changes made, I will support the licence and thank Mr Fender for his input.”