Snooker club boss Jawad Ismail sacked a bar worker suspected of being involved in dealing cocaine – but then allowed him to return as a customer even though a police investigation was still under way.
And it was the sacked worker’s presence at Peterborough Snooker Club that raised eyebrows of two police officers on a scheduled visit to meet with Ismail.
The former worker’s presence resulted in the licencing committee of Peterborough City Council revoking Mr Ismail’s premises licences for the snooker club.
The licensing committee was told this week that during February and March 2023, a bar person employed by Mr Ismail “assisted in the dealing of drugs, namely cocaine, within the premises.
“This bar person was subsequently arrested (On May 31) and the investigation is currently ongoing”.
But on June 6, during a meeting between Mr Ismail and police and Peterborough City Council licensing officers, the former bar person suspected of dealing of drugs entered the club via the rear door.
“Mr Ismail confirmed that this person was a long-standing friend and had not been excluded from the premises,” said a report considered by the committee.
The two men had been friends for 20 years and although Mr Ismail “advised that the person had been dismissed from their role, however he was still allowed in as a patron”.
The report added: “There are concerns that Mr Ismail is not in control of the premises.
“It is felt that he did not take immediate positive action to mitigate further offences and is allowing criminal activity to take place.
“He does not appear to understand his responsibilities to uphold the licensing objectives.”
The committee was told that under the 2002 licensing act “revocation of the licence even in the first instance, should be seriously considered where reviews arise and the licensing authority determines, that the crime prevention objective is being undermined through the premises being used to further crimes”.
The committee decided to revoke the venue’s licence, stating in their summary: “We took a serious view of dealing in Class A drugs, especially on licensed premises which the general public had access to.
“It was clear the premises licence holder was not in control of the premises and had not taken his responsibilities under the Licensing Act seriously. The sub-committee had considered various conditions but did not believe that additional conditions were appropriate in this case.”
Councillor Steve Allen, deputy leader and Cabinet member for housing and communities, said: “This case sends a clear message to licence holders that they must adhere to the terms of their licences and that any illegal activities will have severe consequences.
“We take any breaches of conditions extremely seriously and will look to take appropriate action, helping to ensure the safety of the general public.”
Mr Ismail can appeal the decision to Peterborough magistrates.
The committee was told that lesser sanctions were available to them including a suspension of the licence for a period not exceeding three months.
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