'Evil' takeaway shut down

A BLACKPOOL takeaway with "a streak of evil running through it" has been shut down by police.

Funny Boyz, on Dickson Road in the town centre, has had its premises licence revoked on the grounds of public safety after an application by Blackpool Police.

Among the dossier of evidence which went before a specially-convened licensing meeting were:

n Numerous incidents of serious violence in and around the fast food outlet.

n Major health and safety breaches.

n Weapons such as baseball bats and hammers being kept under the counter.

Earlier this month, Funny Boyz was the scene of a murder investigation.

Detectives searching for the body of Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes searched the inside of the building and dug up the basement in their hunt for evidence of foul play.

Blackpool Council's licensing committee yesterday heard evidence gathered over many months as to why the outlet should be shut down.

Sgt Richard Hurt, of Blackpool Police's Nightsafe team, said: "The committee was told the premises had an evil streak running through it and deemed it necessary to revoke the licence on the grounds of public safety, the prevention of harm to children, crime and disorder and health and safety. A lot of hard work and consideration by PC Christine Booth went into making this application.

"We gathered evidence of after-hours sales, health and safety breaches and, worryingly, offensive weapons being stored behind the counter.

"Under the counter, they were keeping baseball bats and hammers, which we cannot tolerate."

The licence holder, Tariq Mohammed Albattikhi, appeared at the town hall with legal representation and now has 21 days to appeal the decision, during which his business can stay open.

This was the first such application made in Blackpool under the new powers of the Licensing Act 2003.

It came into force in November and police have fired a warning shot across the bows of all other takeaways in the town.

Sgt Hurt added: "This is the first and sends a clear message to the takeaway trade to comply with the requirements of their licence or face losing your business.

"Now we have these powers, we will be using them."


A Blackpool Council spokeswoman said: "The committee heard there had been a catalogue of incidents which raised serious concerns about the management of the premises and the conduct of employees.

"Such are the concerns the committee came to the conclusion the only way to safeguard the licensing objectives was to revoke the licence.

"This decision will come into effect in 21 days unless notice of appeal is served within that time."

n Iyad Albattikhi, 28, of Dickson Road, has been charged with the murder of Charlene Downes, who disappeared from her North Shore home in November 2003.

Mohammed Raveshi, 49, of Hornby Road, is charged with assisting in the disposal of a body. Both men are remanded in custody.