Teenage gangs caused mayhem for Blackpool town centre businesses

Food Lounge on Market Street in Blackpool
Food Lounge on Market Street in Blackpool
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A town centre takeaway has been banned from selling late night food after it became a hub for unruly teenagers.

The Food Lounge on Market Street, Blackpool, was a magnet for gangs of youths who intimidated other business operators in the area, a town hall hearing was told.

Authorities closed the premises down temporarily earlier this year using emergency powers, but applied for a review of the licence amid concerns, including that vulnerable children were being drawn to the premises.

A council licensing panel revoked the late night refreshment licence meaning the take-away must close at 11pm instead of 4.30am.

Inspector James Martin, neighbourhood inspector for Blackpool town centre, said in a statement to the hearing: “Throughout late 2016 and 2017, youth anti-social behaviour has become an increasing concern for Blackpool town centre.”

He added: “A trend has emerged whereby large numbers of young people attend Blackpool town centre, specifically Market Street, Church Street and Bank Hey Street and loiter with the intention of intimidating, harassing and committing minor criminal offences.”

Businesses who have worked with the police to resolve issues include MFA Bowl on Market Street, KFC and McDonalds.

The operators of MFA Bowl were said to have suffered chaos on a nightly basis due to youths running wild in the premises.

Mark Marshall, licensing manager at Blackpool Council, said: “Effectively on a nightly basis these premises were being attacked by huge groups gathering in the foyer, throwing bike handles at the ceiling to break it and even breaking into the utility area and switching power off.”

There were also concerns about vulnerable teenage girls being found at Food Lounge, whose leaseholder is Nabil Awadi.

Louise Scales, Blackpool Council child protection licensing officer, said the premises had been “on our radar for many months” with particular concern over “very vulnerable children” attending there.

Current licence holder for the Food Lounge Amir Abdun was not running the takeaway when problems were happening between December and February this year.

He told the hearing: “I have a plan for the business, and I will have a doorman on from 1am until I shut down.

“I feel I do know how to deal with problems like anti-social behaviour.”

But councillors, who also heard action was also being taken against the premises by council food inspectors, decided to revoke the licence due to “a catalogue’ of concerns.

Mr Abdun has 21 days to appeal the decision.