Police close Suffolk pub

POLICE last nightused special powers for the first time in Suffolk to close a pub after fears that violence would erupt ahead of England's first match in the European Championships.

POLICE last nightused special powers for the first time in Suffolk to close a pub after fears that violence would erupt ahead of England's first match in the European Championships.

Officers went to The Angel, Theatre Street, Woodbridge, at 5.30pm and immediately ordered the licensee Amy Rogers to close the pub for at least 24 hours.

She was warned that she could be fined up to £20,000 and given a prison sentence of up to three months if she failed to comply with the closure order.

Drinkers had to leave the pub and a notice went up outside telling potential customers that it was closed until further notice.

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Ms Rogers declined to comment.

A decision will be taken by Woodbridge police this weekend about the pub's immediate future and on Tuesday afternoon licensing magistrates will hear a police application to revoke the licence.

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Police acted after many complaints over the last 12 months about the anti-social behaviour of people congregating outside the pub and using the premises.

Insp Ben Cook, Woodbridge police sector commander, said: "There has been drunkenness, fighting, damage and noise pollution spilling out of the pub and causing environmental health problems.

"There has been a minority of people who are causing the problems which impact on the lives of the public and this closure order is the culmination of a year's worth of work that has been going on to try and reduce the problems associated with that public house."

One resident, who declined to be named, said: "We have had terrible problems from that pub ranging from people swearing outside our windows right through to people peeing out here and generally making a noise."

The closure order, made under recent amendments to the Licensing Act 1964, was made on the basis that, "there are reasonable grounds to believe there is likely to be disorder on, or in the vicinity of and related to, the premises and a disturbance is being caused to the public by excessive noise emitted from the premises and the closure of the premises is necessary to prevent the disturbance."

Mr Cook served the notice and he said afterwards: "This shows that, where sufficient evidence can be gathered, we will take action to prevent problems. Police are committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and we will use all the measures available to us to try to ensure those who want to enjoy a good night out can do it in safe and friendly surroundings, and that local residents are not disturbed.

"Licensees across the country have a legal responsibility on the proper conduct of licensed premises and the government have made it clear that those in the trade have an obligation to assist in reducing incidents of alcohol-related disorder.

"Police are working in partnership with both local publicans and other agencies, such as councils and residents' groups, to try to make Suffolk safer through a number of initiatives such as the Nightsafe scheme, but will also use enforcement action when appropriate, to tackle disorder."

The order was served as part of a series of measures being taken by police to tackle damage and disorder in Woodbridge town centre. The initiatives include a future ban on drinking alcohol in designated places in Woodbridge.

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