Takeaway hours are slashed over late night trouble

Los Gringos on Dickson Road, Blackpool
Los Gringos on Dickson Road, Blackpool
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One takeaway has been banned from serving late at night and another has had its hours pegged back after it was claimed both premises had become flashpoints for booze-fuelled disorder.

The operators of the fast food outlets on Dickson Road, Blackpool, were hauled before council licensing panels after police officers warned part of the town centre is becoming “out of control” after 3am.

Los Gringos, which is run by Youcef Amri, had its late night licence revoked, meaning it can only serve until 11pm, while Pizza Luigi, which is run by Mohammed Bedwi, had its opening hours pegged back from 5am to 3am, following the hearings.

A third takeaway, Amir’s (formerly Al Goucha), is due before a panel on May 21 when its future will be decided.

Blackpool Council’s head of licensing enforcement Mark Marshall said 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 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.”

PC Dyson added that due to the late operating hours of the three fast food outlets, crowds in the area can become “out of control”.

She added: “Hundreds of people can be standing on the street and the majority are locals who know the area and that it will be open the latest.

“Some are youths or street drinkers who come as they know that others will be actively looking to cause trouble, particularly on those who may be vulnerable. The area would be significantly more manageable after 3am if people had no reason to stay out later than they needed with the takeaways being open.”

Concerns over waste management have also been raised, with CCTV showing staff emptying rubbish in public bins on numerous occasions.

Richard Williams, prosecuting solicitor, said a major problem for authorities had been trying to hold someone accountable for the running of the fast food outlets.

Defending solicitor Michael Woosnam believed a reduction in hours for both fast food outlets would be “inappropriate and not proportionate”.

In the case of Pizza Luigi, Mr Woosnam believed in the short time that Mr Bedwi took over the business, he felt significant improvements had been made to demonstrate concerns would be addressed.

“Since January 2015 when Mr Bedwi took over the business, not everything has come right but measures have been taken to improve the business.

“There have been no reports since Mr Bedwi took ownership of any rubbish put in public black bins and in this short time he has managed to improve his food hygiene rating from one star to three stars.”

Mr Woosnam added: “70 per cent of the income comes from the weekend and particularly from 3am onwards so I suggest that a reduction in their opening hours would be an unfair stipulation.

“People who are moving into the Dickson Road area are going there for the late night establishments Kaos and Flamingos, not for the takeaways there.”

Speaking about Los Gringos, Mr Woosnam, said: “There have been problems but this seems to be improving.

“I would suggest due to the changes offered by the takeaway such as a second doorman after 3am, a warning to the licence holder would be appropriate and to allow this business to continue.

“A reduction in hours to the takeaway would significantly impact on the running of the business.”

Both premises have 21 days in which to appeal the decisions.