Gas meter man ‘offered drugs’

Tim Coglan
Tim Coglan

The first ‘takeaway ASBO’ has been issued in Blackpool to shut down a venue accused of employing underage staff.

The Food Lounge, on Market Street, has been forced to close for four weeks by a judge who heard a gas meter reader was offered ‘drugs and a woman’ in return for recording false information.

We have also been given a statement by a British Gas employee who went to the Food Lounge who says he was offered drugs and a woman if he adjusted a meter in favour of the owner

District Judge Roger Lowe, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court, was told it was the first time Blackpool Council has used the ASBO law in this way.

Applying for the order, council lawyer Mike Caveney said that the authority was unhappy with the way the establishment was run by Nabil Awadi, of New South Promenade.

He listed previous problems the council had dealt with at Awadi’s other businesses in the resort, including the Fallen Angels lap dance club and other food takeaways.

“There have been problems with the age of young people being employed late at night,” he said.

“We have also been given a statement by a British Gas employee who went to the Food Lounge who says he was offered drugs and a woman if he adjusted a meter in favour of the owner.”

The prosecution said there had been problems with young and vulnerable people visiting the premises, including some missing from home.

The council’s chief licencing officer, Mark Marshall, said: “What the problems are is that Mr Awadi’s manager could not operate the CCTV properly, there were times he had not got a doorman on duty and he employed staff via Facebook.”

Following the hearing, Tim Coglan, Blackpool Council service manager for public protection, said: “We have worked very closely with the police and are pleased with this outcome. There have been a number of issues at these premises.

“This particular establishment had become a real focus for anti-social behaviour which is unacceptable.

“This decision sends a clear message out to other problematic premises that both the police and Blackpool Council will not tolerate such behaviour and will take action.”