Takeaway given late licence despite alleged links to crime

The exterior of the Spice Hut. Pic: Lloyd Johnson

The exterior of the Spice Hut. Pic: Lloyd Johnson

A takeaway on Mile End Road has been granted a late night licence extension despite police objections due to anti-social behaviour and drug related crime.

The Spice Hut has been permitted to increase their opening hours from 1:00am to 2:00am following a meeting held on March 3.

Tower Hamlets Licensing Sub-Committee imposed conditions that include CCTV being installed, the recording of all crime and disorder in an incident book, and displaying signs that ask customers to respect local residents and to be quite when leaving.

Police Constable Mark Perry, Police Licensing Officer, told the committee, the area around the Spice Hut, “suffers from high levels of anti-social behaviour” particularly around Captain Cooks Yard and O’Leary Square which are “known to be an area used by drug dealers, where class A drugs and Khat [a class C stimulant] are sold.”

When giving the ruling, Councillor Amy Whitelock Gibbs, Chair of the Licensing Sub-Committee said: “It is a unanimous decision and we are granting this licence with conditions.”

“We have noted the very real concerns about anti-social behaviour and prevention of crime and disorder made by the police, but this information was general and not specifically related to inside the premise.”

Police Constable Gregory Corcoran, ward officer for Stepney and St Dunstan’s Safer Neighbourhood team, said in a statement: “220 Mile End Road is known to me as being a place that attracts anti social behaviour and as a result it spills out across into neighbouring areas.”

“The venue has attracted criminal activity in relation to thefts and when assistance has been asked for, staff have been hesitant. I am also aware they often breach their opening hours, serving later than they should.”

A lawyer representing Mr Shahab Uddin, owner of Spice Hut, said to the committee: “I can’t categorically state that they have never gone over the serving time, but there is not a culture to over run the current opening times.”

“There may be anti-social behaviour in the area, but this is away from the premise. Customers are generally working people and not of the demographic raised in the police statement.”

After granting the licence Cllr Gibbs said: “While the applicant stated they have not seen anti-social behaviour in the area they should be aware and mitigate against this and drug dealing.”

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