Ipswich’s Grinning Rat shut down after late-night drinking, fighting and drug-dealing
PUBLISHED: 19:30 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:43 23 May 2019
Underage visitors, late night drinking sessions, drug-dealing, fighting and dealing in stolen goods have led to Ipswich’s Grinning Rat pub losing its licence.
Members of Ipswich Council's licencing sub-committee were shown CCTV images of numerous breaches of rules at the pub - and were told many incidents were not recorded because of problems with operating the system.
Licensee Luke Hughes, who has also run other pubs and bars around the town, was told the licence would be revoked after the committee heard he had failed to supervise the manager of the pub.
Sharon Betts-Palmer, licensing officer for Suffolk Police, showed CCTV from August, November and December last year that showed drinking in the in the early hours of several weekend mornings - its licence says it has to shut at midnight at weekends.
Many CCTV images were unavailable to police because they had not been recorded - in contravention of the licensee's conditions.
The CCTV of August 11 showed people fighting in an outside area - and there were also images of the female manager apparently fighting with a 16-year-old girl.
Police had been concerned about the pub before that. In October 2017 they had spoken to Mr Hughes because of concerns about the way the pub was run, including concerns about drug dealing and people dealing in stolen goods. There were suspicions that staff were buying spirits stolen from shops.
Mr Hughes had agreed to replace the manager, but that had not happened.
After the incidents last year Mr Hughes was served with the notice to attend the hearing at Grafton House in Ipswich.
The hearing heard that between 2016 and 2019 the pub had four different CCTV systems and there were 45 suspected cases of drug dealing on the premises.
Mr Hughes told the hearing that he managed the pub himself between 2014 and 2016 when there were no problems.
He admitted: "What I have seen on the CCTV disgusts me. I have taken my eye off the ball and I hold my hands up to that. The manager has left and I'm running the Grinning Rat myself again."
However the committee decided Mr Hughes had not supervised the pub well enough and decided to revoke the licence because of late-night drinking, to protect children and to preserve law and order.
The order was sent to the pub on Wednesday and arrived on Thursday, which means the licence will come to an end and the pub will have to close in 21 days from then - on June 14.
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