Curfew on takeaways

Three takeaways on Dickson Road have been accused of being magnets for late night antisocial behaviour

Three takeaways on Dickson Road have been accused of being magnets for late night antisocial behaviour

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Takeaways in part of Blackpool are set to be told to close earlier in a bid to combat a surge in drunken disorder.

Police and town hall licensing officers are considering plans to impose a late-night ‘cap’ on eateries in the Dickson Road area after another takeaway there had its hours cut back because of booze-related problems.

People across Blackpool have given their verdict on EMRO

People across Blackpool have given their verdict on EMRO

Al Goucha, now known as Amir’s, on Dickson Road, Blackpool, has been told it can only serve until 4am in future instead of 5am, meaning it will miss out on a final hour of trade after many of Blackpool’s late-night bars and clubs close their doors.

Now other operators have been warned council bosses and police are to launch a crackdown in the area, following what they say is an increase in early morning drunken problems.

Licensing officers say they want to introduce a ‘cap’ on takeaways - through consultation and more licence reviews – which will mean all activity in the area stops at 4am instead of 5am.

It comes just weeks after Los Gringos had its late night refreshment licence revoked, meaning it can only serve until 11pm, while Pizza Luigi had its opening hours reduced from 5am to 3am following previous licensing hearings.

“On average, teams are called out to the Dickson Road area on a weekend between five and 10 times a night. It is not a nice area of Blackpool post 3am, it is usually covered in food, litter and vomit.

PC Stacey Dyson, Lancashire Police

Both of those takeaways are also on Dickson Road.

Now other operators have been warned council bosses and police are to launch a crackdown in the area, following what they say is an increase in early morning drunken problems.

Licensing officers say they want to introduce a ‘cap’ on takeaways which will mean all activity in the area stops at 4am instead of 5am.

Officers claim the move is needed because the area, which has a number of takeaways along its length, is becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

They claim up to 120 incidents can be attended by officers on weekend nights in an average month on Dickson Road.

The cap would not be introduced in the same way as councillors’ and the police’s failed bid last year to introduce an Early Morning Restriction Order, which would have forced bars and clubs in part of Blackpool to shut at 3am.

Instead, officers plan to consult with operators in some cases and carry out more licence reviews where necessary to introduce the earlier closing time.

Richard Williams, representing Blackpool police at a town hall hearing to review Al Goucha’s licence, said: “What the police and the council are trying to achieve is to highlight that the anti-social behaviour outside these premises in the early hours of the morning is significant.

“We are trying to resolve this by pulling the hours back so people don’t come out of clubs in the early hours of the morning and are not encouraged to hang around for another hour or more which encourages vagrants and other thrill-seekers to gather in this vicinity.

“The aim is for licensable activities to cease at 4am instead of 5am for late night refreshment. The idea is to try and achieve a cap which we would want as 4am through consultation and reviews where necessary.”

Mr Williams added: “We will be closely monitoring this area of Dickson Road as one of those areas causing a problem in terms of trouble on this street.”

Coun Gary Coleman, who chaired the panel, echoed the warnings.

And he told licence holder Amir Abdun: “It is the last chance. You must be aware that you are going to be under scrutiny and we trust you to be professional.”

Police officers have warned the Dickson Road area is becoming “out of control” after 3am.

Licensing chiefs have heard claims from officers that police are called out to deal with between five and 10 incidents each night on the street after this time.

But the hearings have been told that many of the incidents are not recorded as crimes because they are stopped by enforcement officers before they start.

Blackpool Council’s head of licensing enforcement Mark Marshall told a previous hearings that visits to all three premises had been made since last June in a bid to resolve ongoing issues.

He said: “The area on our first visit was quite shocking, lots of people on the street are there to just cause trouble.

“You will find thugs often on BMX bikes sitting outside the takeaways causing problems and looking to take advantage of people.

“There is definitely a thug element on the street, it’s a very intimidating environment.”

Mr Marshall added he and fellow officers had had to intervene on numerous occasions to stop fights.

PC Stacey Dyson, of Lancashire Police, said curtailing operating hours would be “a big help” in policing the area.

She said: “On average, teams are called out to the Dickson Road area on a weekend between five and 10 times a night.

“It is not a nice area of Blackpool post 3am, it is usually covered in food, litter and vomit.”

After yesterday’s hearing, where the idea of a 4am ‘cap’ was discussed, Mr Abdun, of Al Goucha, said he was happy with the outcome.

He said: “There is trouble on Dickson Road so it will be better for us if the authorities can stop it.”

All the takeaways have 21 days to appeal the decisions made.