Newham

Flout the law and face closure, council warns licensed premises

13 April 2012 in Business and Community safety
Newham Council is warning landlords and the owners of licensed premises that their businesses could be closed if they are found to be attracting crime or anti-social behaviour.
 
The warning comes after the council’s Licensing Sub-committee blocked a premises licence for a massage parlour in Stratford, which police said was being used as a brothel.

Councillors backed a police request not to grant a new licence for Libby’s in The Grove after officers discovered prostitutes were operating on the premises.

The committee made the decision in order to prevent anti-social behaviour. It concluded that the management of the premises were not fit to hold a licence.

The committee heard that two separate investigations by the police had confirmed that none of the staff within the premises were able to supply formal massage qualifications and that illegal activity was taking place.

Police told the committee that the owner of the premises, Francis Godfrey, had failed to take action despite warnings after visits by the police.

Libby’s has appealed the committee’s decision.

Councillor Ian Corbett, executive member for environment, warned: “We are determined to stamp out illegal activity in the borough and will not hesitate to act where we believe licensed premises are a magnet for crime or anti-social behaviour.

“If we or the local police discover that the law is being broken, we will not hesitate to take action. We will use our full powers and any business or premises which are being used for illegal activity could have their licences revoked.

“Landlords or business owners should be in no doubt that if we have clear evidence that they have not taken reasonable steps to prevent crime they will face prosecution.”