Ilford pub The Bell forced to reduce opening hours after ‘drunken brawls’ and drugs find

An Ilford pub has been forced to cut its opening hours following a review to address licensing and antisocial behaviour issues.

The Bell, Ley Street, Ilford, will now need to close by 12.30am on Friday and Saturday, 11.30pm between Monday and Thursday and 11pm on Sunday.

Previously it stayed open until 3am on Friday and Saturday and 2am between Sunday and Thursday.

Fight

The council’s anti-social behaviour team applied for a review of the venue’s licence together with the police, who had become concerned about late-night activity there.


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A letter from police licensing officer John Brady said: “The premises is failing, the designated premises supervisor/licence holder has proved to be weak, inept and routinely fails to control his patrons and events, allowing them to descend into drunken brawls, particularly at closing time.”

The letter went on to explain that police had been concerned since 2010. It cited an event on Christmas Day in 2011 as an example of the violent assaults that were taking place there.

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A fight broke out, during which objects were thrown at patrons and bar staff, causing facial injury. Police attended and arrested two men for offences under the Public Order Act 1986.

Cocaine use was also detected on a toilet cistern after swabs were taken during a pan-Redbridge drugs mapping exercise last year.

The licensee appealed the decision made by the licensing sub-committee, but a hearing at Romford Magistrates’ Court last month ruled in the council’s favour.

At the licensing sub-committe’s original meeting, in February, CCTV footage showed two men tussling with a pint glass at the petrol station after visiting the pub.

The council’s legal costs – £4,000 – must now be paid by the licensee, named in the police letter as Mr Saskaran, who the sub-committee requested be removed.

No one at the pub was available to comment.

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