Police crackdown on booze laws

A POLICE officer has today assured revellers Ipswich is a safe place to go out at night as their crackdown on licensing laws continues.

A POLICE officer has today assured revellers Ipswich is a safe place to go out at night as their crackdown on licensing laws continues.

A covert joint operation between Suffolk Police and Ipswich Borough Council has seen officers go into bars and clubs in Ipswich to see if there is any illegal action taking place.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterdaytwo members of staff from the former Quilts bar admitted to knowingly serving alcoholic drinks to people who were already drunk.

Katie Grimwood, 20, of Woodlark Close, and Darren Luckin, 34, of Christchurch Street, were offered a fixed penalty notice by police on the night following the offence but were advised to refuse it and plead not guilty.

Moments before their trial began yesterday, they changed their plea and were fined by magistrates.

Ann Gray, prosecuting, told the court that plain-clothed officers went into Quilts on April 4 around 1.15am and watched as Luckin served two shots of Sambuca to a man and a woman who was “clearly drunk”.

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She said: “The woman was swaying from side to side and could not stand up. Her eyes kept on closing for a long time. Officers stopped the couple as they made their way outside and they were identified as being drunk.”

Police also spotted Grimwood do the same thing as she served an alcopop to a different woman, who was unsteady on her feet.

Mitigating on Luckin's behalf, April Plants, said: “He accepted it was at the end of the night and he was tired. Looking back he can see he should not have served the alcohol.”

Grimwood, representing herself, agreed and said she would have paid the fixed penalty notice at the time but was told not to.

Magistrates fined them £145 each.

Pc Andrew Walker, a licensing officer at Suffolk Police, said: “We made the management of the pubs and clubs aware that we were going to do it[this operation. This is an ongoing operation. It is their responsibility to make sure their staff are in check. I hope this will make people realise that Ipswich is a safe place to go out and have a drink.

“Under this operation, we would be looking at everything, from fire escapes to polycarbon drinking vessels. We have had a good response from the pubs and clubs over this. We are trying to improve the whole of Ipswich's nightlife scene and make people want to come here.”

Do you feel safe going out in Ipswich at night? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk