A TOWN centre pub that had its licence suspended following allegations of a drive-by shooting and a kidnapping on its doorstep has been put up for sale. The Kings Head Hotel, formerly the Unique Bar and Nightclub, in South Street, St Neots, has been close

A TOWN centre pub that had its licence suspended following allegations of a drive-by shooting and a kidnapping on its doorstep has been put up for sale.

The Kings Head Hotel, formerly the Unique Bar and Nightclub, in South Street, St Neots, has been closed since January following a licensing hearing.

The future of the bar was called into question when a series of violent incidents took place just before Christmas, which resulted in police shutting the venue.

Huntingdonshire District Council's licensing panel then suspended the licence for three months and ruled that it could no longer operate as a nightclub.

At the hearing, Punch Taverns said it was keen to refurbish the pub and reopen it as a traditional family pub serving home-cooked food.

But The Hunts Post has learnt that the pub chain has put the venue on the market for £425,000.

In a statement Punch Taverns said it was "currently exploring options around the future of the bar".

A spokesman said: "The venue is currently being marketed for sale but we are also reviewing options around refurbishing the site so it can re-open."

Another of the chain's pubs, the nearby Wrestlers in New Street, which had its licence suspended for eight weeks in 2007 following drug allegations, is also for sale. The freehold price is £350,000. Both are being marketed by Everard Cole.

Punch Taverns' spokesman added: "This does not form part of a strategy to move out of the area. Punch also owns the Hyde Park in St Neots and a number of other sites on the outskirts and we remain committed to supporting our licensees and helping them build successful, sustainable businesses."

A spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council said the strict licensing conditions at the Kings Head Hotel would remain irrespective of who holds the licence.

Cllr Julia Hayward, leader of St Neots Town Council, said: "I'm sorry that Punch feels they have to put the pubs up for sale. I do not know whether it is because of the history or a more general business issue, but certainly recent events can not have helped.

"The Kings Head was an important part of the town's nightlife in the past and hopefully it can be a popular venue again.