Another blow for Redbridge pubs as The Joker faces closure after cannabis farm find
PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 October 2013
The Redbridge pub scene has been dealt another bitter blow after a drugs farm was discovered in a “secret” room at The Joker – leading to its shock closure.
Police raided the pub in Cameron Road, Seven Kings, and found a crop of cannabis in an underground chamber fitted with “a sophisticated light and irrigation system”, according to a report.
The pub’s licence was suspended by Redbridge Council’s sub-licensing committee on Friday afternoon and it remains closed.
Police officers saw nothing unusual in the cellar during last week’s raid, until they found a metal door concealed by a bookcase and a 3ft wide hole leading to the farm.
The pub, already facing demolition for a 19-apartment development with two retail units, could be forced to shut down early.
Representations can be made to keep the licence, but police applied for its removal because the premises are “associated with serious crime”.
Audrey Shorer, secretary of the Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents’ Association, said the area was short of community venues.
She added: “There should be more options for people to gather, like youth clubs or community centres.
“It’s a great pity that there aren’t more places for people to get together.”
The Cauliflower in High Road, Ilford, closed in January, leaving just O’Gradys Irish Bar open in the area.
Sujie Sunthararajan, 36, of Newbury Park, said he was shocked about the discovery at The Joker but had mixed feelings about it closing.
He added: “If people come in, drink, and go home, that would be nice, but when they drink and drink, it makes it bad for the area.”
The Joker will remain shut until the licence review is completed and any appeal heard. A 58-year-old man has been arrested and bailed until December 16
The licensing authority invites comments on the closure before Thursday by letter or emailing email@example.com.
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