Bar has licence suspended after door staff let ‘gang members bring in guns’

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter 

A bar has been ordered to shut its doors for a month by a local authority after a series of incidents, including door staff allegedly being paid to allow “gang members to bring in guns”.

Greenwich council has suspended the licence of Hayatt Lounge, a shisha lounge with a bar and restaurant in Westmoor Street, Charlton.

The decision was published by the council last week, after being discussed at a meeting on July 26. Police constable Mark Evans said at the meeting that there was “very reliable” evidence from the police’s intelligence unit that criminal activity was taking place in the venue until recently.

The inside of Hayatt Lounge (Picture: Greenwich council)

PC Evans said: “There are gangs who are entering the premises, that are paying the door staff to enter the premises, using the premises for criminal activity like selling drugs and bringing in guns and knives.”

Gemma Creamer, general manager of Hayatt Lounge, said at the meeting that “almost any” venue in London could host individuals suspected of disorder or being in gangs.

She said Hayatt Lounge had since taken additional steps to ensure the safety of guests, including bag and body searches using metal detectors and requiring every person entering to have their ID scanned.

Ms Creamer said: “As a business, we prioritise the safety of our customers in this premises, and we do all that we can to ensure every individual coming into this premises is safe from the start, from when they come in, to when they leave.”

The general manager said that she would not be involved with the business if she had any knowledge of drugs being dealt in the bar. The licence for the venue was reviewed after a series of incidents in June this year.

James Rankin, legal representative for the Met Police, said that a “disproportionate” number of events had brought Hayatt Lounge to the attention of the police including a large fight on June 10 which, according to Mr Rankin, saw the premises “losing control” of its own site.

Mr Rankin said: “The next incident was on June 18 where a brandy bottle was dashed into the face of a lady customer, shattering and she was then slashed across the eyebrow with the shards, causing a one inch laceration… No calls were made to the London Ambulance Service by the premises and the victim had to make her own way to hospital where she then made a subsequent complaint.”

The general manager said she disagreed with the allegation that a bottle of Hennessy was used to attack a customer on June 18, but admitted that the situation could have been handled better by the venue.

Ms Creamer added: “I do want to highlight that an incident like that has not been seen to take place before at such a high level, and these incidents on the 18 and 20 are also isolated incidents that haven’t taken place before.”

The licensing committee said in its decision that the licence of Hayatt Lounge would be suspended for a month. They also said the current designated premises supervisor for the venue must be removed.

Pictured top: Hayatt Lounge as seen on Westmoor Street in Charlton (Picture: Greenwich council)

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