“Welcome to Hell” - Eagle Tavern licence revoked

PUBLISHED: 09:27 31 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:27 31 October 2014

The Eagle Tavern in Tonning Street, Lowestoft.

The Eagle Tavern in Tonning Street, Lowestoft.

A Lowestoft pub described by a nearby resident as “hell” has had its licence revoked following reports of persistent anti-social behaviour.

Some of the incidents detailed in the report

In November 2013, a paramedic was assaulted at the pub by the man he had been called to treat and suffered a broken bone in his wrist.

Following two reports of assaults at the Eagle Tavern within three days of each other in July of this year, the investigating officers noted that staff and customers were uncooperative, had “closed ranks” and had stated nothing had happened in both cases.

They concluded Ms Moon and her staff were either “woefully incompetent”, being oblivious to the violence taking place on the premises or were “lying to officers in a misguided attempt to conceal criminal activity”.

Officers from Suffolk Police’s night time economy specialist licensing team attended the Eagle Tavern to carry out an inspection in September. They took drug swabs of the bar area and toilets and found some of the highest readings for cocaine ever seen in any premises in Suffolk. Upon leaving the pub, officers spoke with local residents, with one person saying: “Welcome to hell.”

Attempts by police to engage with staff at the premises were also unsuccessful. The day after a meeting with the license holders on July 31, when progress appeared to have been made, officers received reports of a noisy “lock-in” at the pub.

When they arrived at the venue, Ms Moon denied any after-hours activities were taking place and said there was only three other people on the premises. The officer then found about 15 customers hiding in the beer garden, which Ms Moon explained as a private party with all drinks being provided for free. Officers returned 20 minutes later and found the same people inside the pub, now mostly with fresh drinks.

Public Inns Partnership lost its premises licence for the Eagle Tavern in Tonning Street, Lowestoft during a hearing of Waveney District Council’s licensing sub committee on Monday, October 27.

The application was lodged by Suffolk Police in August on the grounds of prevention of crime and public safety.

A report prepared for the committee by Suffolk Constabulary said the pub was currently closed and the designated premises supervisor (DPS) Lisa Moon - who ran the pub on behalf of Public Inns Partnership from March 2014 - had left.

The report also covers a period from May 2013, when Michelle Deller was the DPS and had employed Darren Bailes as the full-time manager at the pub.

It revealed a catalogue of complaints against the pub during those periods, including drug use and customers openly smoking cannabis outside the building, as well as evidence of cocaine and MDMA inside the pub.

There were also reports of violence on the premises spilling out in to the street, loud music being played, alcohol being served out of hours and poor management.

It states that the management failed to cooperate with Suffolk Police officers after crimes were reported at the venue.

It also said recommended improvements, including the installation of CCTV, were not implemented.

It adds that the licence review application was submitted only after all other means to address the problems had been exhausted and that it was not a reflection on the of the licence holders, who had made efforts to work with the police officers.

The report recommends the removal of Ms Moon as DPS.

It concludes: “It is clear she is complicit in the licensing breaches/offences and has demonstrated disregard for police advice and investigations.

“The premises require a strong professional person to work alongside the constabulary to turn the pub around so it can become the safe, thriving business that the local community deserves.”

Speaking after the meeting, Yvonne Cherry, who is a member of the licensing sub committee, said: “We didn’t give them a licence because of all the things that have gone on in the pub.

“We didn’t think it was right that the people who live around the pub should be having to put up with that sort of behaviour.”

Public Inns Partnership have 21 days to appeal the decision.

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