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I'm being picked on by police

PUBLISHED: 13:44 30 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK landlord who was looking forward to a clean slate after a case against him was thrown out of court, has claimed he is being victimised by police.

A SUFFOLK landlord who was looking forward to a clean slate after a case against him was thrown out of court, today claimed that he is being victimised by police.

Furious Steven Johnson, who runs the King's Head in Hadleigh, said that police have put his life and business under a microscope in the four months since charges against him, including dishonesty, were dropped.

A force spokesman said officers had a duty to report any problems at any licensed premises but Mr Johnson hit back, claiming: "They are determined to find something wrong with the way I run my pub. It's like their revenge."

Now the 39-year-old, who lives above the watering hole on the town's High Street, must appear before magistrates to face police concerns about the control he has over the pub.

According to a police report officers attended the King's Head at least six times from May 5 to June 16. Allegations include after-hours drinking, disorderly conduct and drunkenness within the vicinity of the premises.

But Mr Johnson, who also runs a car valeting business in Suffolk, claims many of the incidents were blown out of proportion or misinterpreted.

He has been to the police station in Hadleigh to complain about the way he has been treated and says he is taking legal advice before deciding on his next move.

"I just get the feeling they are trying to find any small fault and blow it out of all proportion. I think I have done a really good job with this place. I've done it up. I've barred lots of people who were known troublemakers.

"We get people in here now who want to come out for a quiet drink."

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said he felt unable to comment before the court hearing, but added: "The police have a duty to report any problems in any licensed premises so that licensee justices can make an informed decision on the future of the business."

"If Mr Johnson feels he has a complaint or grievance it's important he writes to us so we can look into it."

Mr Johnson had always denied the original criminal charges which included causing £21,000 of damage to a car belonging to a friend of his estranged wife, handling a stolen car, carrying an offensive weapon in a public place and being in possession of 2,149 fake coins.

In March, the case against him collapsed when the prosecution failed to meet a deadline set by Sudbury magistrates.

He has also been called to face a hearing at Haverhill and Sudbury Magistrates Court to satisfy licensing justices as to his future control and supervision of the pub.

A date has yet to be agreed for the hearing.

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