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Posted by: John Brace | 23rd February 2012

Licensing Act 2003 Subcommittee Wirral Council 22/2/2012 Part 2 North Star, 294 Laird Street, Birkenhead, CH41 8ER

The meeting resumed after lunch with the same panel (Cllr Bob Wilkins (Chair), Cllr Eddie Boult and Cllr Steve Niblock) and officers as before, with three members of the public/press, a solicitor and two people involved with the licence. The report on this agenda item can be found here.

Cllr Bob Wilkins welcomed people to the hearing, introduced himself and the panel and asked officers, the police and others to introduce themselves. Four officers present earlier for part one of the meeting introduced themselves. The two police officers stayed the same. Three others introduced themselves including Chris Johnson (solicitor), ????? ????? and another ????? ?????.

The Chair, Cllr Wilkins asked if they could confirm the documentation sent out had been received?

Margaret O’Donnell said they had additional documentation circulated to councillors and to the other parties, which was additional documentation.

The Sergeant said the late documentation was in relation to an arrest yesterday. There was an NG15 form regarding a ??????? ??? and a copy of the interview.

Cllr Niblock confirmed he had it. Cllr Bob Wilkins said if there was any additional documentation to present or whether they wished to call extra witnesses?

The Police said they would not at this moment in time.

Cllr Wilkins asked the police to present their case, then there would be the opportunity to ask questions. The representative of the licence holders would get their chance to put across their case, followed by questions. They would proceed and hear views, and make their decision in accordance with the statement of Licensing Policy and statutory guidance and the four licensing objectives which were preventing crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

Margaret O’Donnell outlined details of the conditions on the licence, which was for sale of alcohol, recorded music and dancing seven days a week 11am to 11pm with some non-standard times involving Good Friday and Christmas Day regarding the sale of alcohol.

She said they may take one or more of the following steps which included modifying the conditions, removing the Designated Premises Supervisor, suspending the licence for a period of up to three months, revoking the licence and taking no action.

Cllr Steve Niblock asked the police about the anonymous letter and why it wasn’t seen as vexatious as it was anonymous?

The police sergeant explained that the anonymous letter had arrived in January 2012, this was after the event and the premises had been raided. He said the letter ??????? and came in after the event. He said he accepted it was anonymous and received after the ?????. He said it was unidentified.

The Chair Cllr Bob Wilkins asked Sergeant Jenkins of the Police to speak first.

Sgt Jenkins thanked members of the panel. He said the Premises Licence Holder for these premises is one John Joseph Diable, but recently one of his business partners, Mr Wharton had made an application to be the Premises Licence Holder of these premises. The Designated Premises Supervisor was Christopher Ridgeway Jones and he’s here today.

The Chair, Cllr Bob Wilkins asked if John Joseph was the Designated Premises Supervisor or Christopher Ridgeway Jones?

Ken Abraham, legal adviser to the panel said to clarify that it was Mr. Wilson who was here and had applied to be Premises Licence Holder, not Mr. Wharton. He asked Sergeant Jenkins to clarify what he’d said.

Sergeant Jenkins apologised for referring to Mr. Wilson as Mr. Wharton. “You’re Mr. Wharton?”. He apologised again. He said Chris Ridgeway Jones, owned it with his wife Mary. On the evening of the ??rd ?????, officers of the Wirral Licensing Unit and Tactical Team, attended the North Star public house in Birkenhead in an ongoing licensing operation.

He continued by stating that it was an ongoing licensing operation, taking place on that evening and several licensed premises were scheduled to be visited. He said a police ??? unit and a ????? ??? also accompanied the officers.

On entering the premises, officers noticed that it was extremely ????, he spoke with the ??? for ???. He formed the opinion that ??? appeared ???? and when asked about ???, he looked ????. He was asked to ???? the location of the ??? and stated it was in the ????. Officers entered the ???? where they found the ??? between ???? ???? which was ???? in ????. There was no ??? for it, on the ??? and the officers believed that the ???? had been used to ????. “I did send some photographs down, but I do appreciate they are of poor quality. I’ve had a problem with my printer today, in order to print some colour photographs off. But that appears is the situation that we found.”

He handed out the photos.

Margaret asked if ????? had seen these?

????? answered ???.

Sgt Jenkins continued, “When ????? was ????? these, he stated that he ????? ????? the ???? of ??? ???? and that he ???? ???? for ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????. He was informed at that the time that he was to be arrested on suspicion of the theft of gas and that’s what subsequently happened.”

He said “As you can see there are no ????? or ???? ??? ??? ??? there and it is ???? ?? ??? ??? ???. The ???? from ??? ??? attended. He said that the ???? was ????? and that ??? ??? ??? ??? was both ???? and that no ???? or ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? to the ??? ???? ??? ??? ??? ????. ”

“The public house was then closed due to ???? ????. The ???? was ???? and the ??? ???? to the ???? was ????. The owner of the premises, ???? ???? then arrived at the premises, he wanted to ????. When ???? about the ???? ????, he stated he’d been ????? called ??? ??? and that the former ???, one ???? ??? and a former ???. ???? ???? was then arrested on suspicion of the ??? and he was then conveyed to the Custody Suite in Birkenhead. ”

“From what we understand, ???? was a former ???? ??? of ??? ???. We believe that the ???? of ???? had ????. ???? had ???? ???? ???? ???? and ???? ???? ??? to ??? ???? on the ???? ???. Bearing in mind we’re now on the **rd of *******.”

“You must also give note that on the 3rd October 2011 Constable Rita Jones of the Police Licensing Unit had served a section 19 closure order on the premises, which had been trading since the 27th September 2011 and that the then ???? that ?????, that person was ???? ???. A ??? ???? pertaining to the ???? ?? ? ???? had been ???? to the ???? ???. ”

“The closure order was rescinded on the 4th October 2011, once the ???? ???? had ???? ????. Once the issues of ??? had been addressed, the police ??? ???, had ???? in the ?????? that a ???, that a ???? that was ???? on the premises was ???? ??? ?? ???? ????. This ??? was duly arrested for being in possession of a controlled drug, namely ?????? and ??? too was arrested and charged with the offence. ”

“On the 3rd December 2011, a **** was made that **** were being **** on the premises. On the 22/2/2011 a ****** was **** in the *** **** the **** ****. Seven people were arrested in connection with this *****, including *** ***. No **** evidence was **** which could positively **** any of the *** people arrested. ”

“**** **** the premises and **** it out to an associate **** ****. The **** *** *** *** ***, which was **** was estimated to be £***** to £*****. He ***** police with a ***** on **** and he ***** his right to ***** when ****. The Crown Prosecution Service said the ***** were *****, but that **** evidence to bring a prosecution was not available. The police reference number is what is stated there. ”

Sgt Jenkins said he would take the Crown Prosecution Service file as ****, as the panel could peruse it without him needing to refer to it. He said he could quote from it if you wish me to. It should be. It’s an MG3.

Ken Abraham asked about the page number?

Cllr Bob Wilkins said page 26, Cllr Steve Niblock confirmed it was page 26 in the recent one.

The police continued that on the 19/11/2010 there had been a arrest for an assault which was on police records. There had been also in 2010 two women fighting in street, who were both arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

There was the alleged issue of ***** ****, which in his view compromised the licensing objective of preventing crime and disorder and the safety of public. The detained person had been released on bail pending further enquiries and he confirmed that a criminal investigation was ongoing and he appreciated it was not within the remit of the panel to prejudge it. The persons responsible in his view could not have **** to ***** **** as it was ****. He referred to **** and ****. The police had ***** the premises for a ****.

A PACE ***** of the **** which was authorised as a result of the *** which resulted in four males being arrested. He draw the panel’s attention to the **** of *** ***. On the night we had ***** make **** ***. **** **** is a **** **** officer. He confirms that **** *** **** the **** **** with a *** *** of **** on the */*/20**. No **** has been **** since ****. ****.

Over the course of the past few days **** *** has actually been arrested. He has **** **** *** *** ***. If you come to the MG15, *** *** was interviewed at **** hours and it took him *** minutes by Constable *** at the **** **** ***. *** was cautioned and the caution was explained. *** was asked ****. **** ****.

***. The **** had gone out in error. To explain ***. ***. That **** should be ***** with. We*** clear that **** *** and the **** is that ****. There *** no doubt ****. The premises is owned by *** ****, showing that he is the leaseholder. The land belongs to the Council. He leases it from the Council.

Sgt Jenkins said he believed these premises were involved in alleged criminal activity. A number of people have been arrested. Although six people were arrested, none of these people were charged. He referred to the alleged criminal offence currently under investigation.

He said the police can’t go into pubs on a regular basis, as there are 1,300 licensed premises on the Wirral and they only have a small team. He said premises were within the control of the Premises Licence Holder, whoever they appointed as Designated Premises Supervisor. He advocated revoking the licence, as he felt conditions wouldn’t be effective. He asked the panel to seriously consider revocation.

???? and **** = information removed because it’s an active criminal investigation.

For more information on this story you can read Liam Murphy’s version in the Liverpool Echo


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