Sudbury: Police allegations against club emerge
15:33 10 December 2012
DETAILS of alleged “serious and deliberate” licensing breaches, which form the grounds for a move by police to strip a Sudbury nightclub of its licence, have been released.
“Grave concerns” raised by police and trading standards about the way Easterns Station Lounge is being run, are due to be discussed at a review hearing by Babergh District Council’s licensing sub-committee on December 17.
Police requested an immediate suspension of the licence because of the severity of the alleged breaches.
A document released last night outlining reasons for the revocation request stated that on November 17 during an undercover test purchase operation at the Great Eastern Road premises, four children gained entry to the club without being challenged for ID, and were subsequently able to buy alcohol on four separate occasions during a two-hour period.
The document also states that during that evening, female cast members of the TV programme, The Valleys, who were making a public appearance at the club, exposed their genitalia to customers after arriving at the premises “steaming drunk”.
According to the document, the club’s manager David Pratt promoted these activities.
It went on to say that in the opinion of police Superintendent Terry Byford, the lewd behaviour, lack of order and alleged lawlessness represented “serious disorder” and grounds for a summary review.
Mr Pratt was notified of the findings following the undercover operation. But subsequent accounts of door staff working on November 17 led police to believe Mr Pratt was “deliberately breaching his licence conditions” and actively encouraging others to do the same.
In conclusion, the police report said they had grave concerns that “real harm may come to children”, that public safety was being compromised and crime and disorder going unreported.
In asking for the licence to be suspended pending the full review, Supt Byford stated: “We believe this is the only option open to us.”
Mr Pratt told the East Anglian Daily Times he could not comment on the case for legal reasons, but he strenuously denied the allegations made by police and confirmed the club would be fighting the move. A representative of Dadds Licensing Solicitors – who are acting on Mr Pratt’s behalf – said they were intending to challenge the application.
A Babergh spokesman said: “In this instance, and having expressed serious concern at the issues raised, the [licensing] sub-committee decided to not take any interim steps and allow for the full and fair examination of all parties’ submissions and evidence at the forthcoming hearing. “