EXCLUSIVEAnother apparent blunder by police in the Jameis Winston case ... TMZ Sports has learned there WAS surveillance footage at the bar where Jameis and the accuser were allegedly boozing before the incident ... but since cops delayed the investigation, the video was written over and lost for good.
We spoke with the owner of Potbelly's bar in Tallahassee, Fl ... who tells us investigators only RECENTLY came to his establishment and asked for footage that could have shown the interaction between Jameis and the accuser in the hours leading up to the alleged rape.
According to the search warrant, the alleged victim told police she had been boozing hard at Potbelly's before the incident (5 or 6 shots that night) ... and she left with a black guy who she later ID'd as Winston.
Problem is ... the incident happened back in Dec. 2012 ... but cops never bothered to go to the bar and ask for the footage until TMZ Sports began to poke around last month.
The owner of the bar tells us ... he would have gladly complied with police, but his video system only holds footage for 30 days ... so the video from the night in question is long gone.