Three restaurants in Brick Lane have had their licences suspended by Tower Hamlets council for ‘curry touting’.
The council’s licensing sub-committee agreed the suspensions earlier this month after hearing evidence that all three premises had touted for custom.
Restaurants in the area have been suspended on previous occasions for the practice of trying to attract customers.
Mahmoud Roug, a representative from Brick Lane Business Association, said: “The council were supposed to have eliminated touting a long time ago. Nobody should take credit for this.”
Sulhe Mia, manager of Bengal Village, one of the restaurants served with a suspension, said: “I cannot find a rule or law that prevents touting or says it is illegal. There is no use challenging the ruling because no one comes forward to support or help us. We will go along with the suspension.”
It was said at the meeting that restaurant touts had approached three council test purchasers and two plain-clothes police officers. All three suspensions will take place in December.
Councillor Ohid Ahmed said: “The curry touts’ persistent and aggressive behaviour causes an obstruction to both visitors and local residents of Brick Lane, and can create an unpleasant environment for everyone. The suspension of these restaurants’ licences demonstrates that we are prepared to take swift and decisive action if restaurants are found to be flouting the rules.”
The council launched the ‘anti-touting code of practice’ in September, encouraging restaurants in Brick Lane to promote a positive experience for those visiting the area.
Restaurants who have agreed to the code promised not to mislead customers about discounts and offers using touts, and to help in identifying businesses who use touts.
The council’s crackdown campaign against the practice aims to stamp out curry touting in time for the Olympic Games next year.