Takeaway loses late licence

sorrento pizzeria 5th March 2011
sorrento pizzeria 5th March 2011

A TAKEAWAY won’t be allowed to sell food after 11pm after councillors cracked down on the owners for “persistently” staying open longer than they should.

Sorrento Pizzeria, in Hartlepool’s Church Street, has had its “late night refreshment” premises licence revoked by Hartlepool Borough Council after Cleveland Police lost patience with the owners.

Officers applied for the review of the licence after the “total disregard” of the premises in ignoring licensing conditions.

There was also an incident on Christmas Eve in which nine customers were locked inside the pizza shop after a late-night row broke out, which saw one man allegedly assaulted and another arrested.

Details of the incident, which allegedly saw a customer punched in the face and other revellers locked inside, came to light in a report compiled by the police.

Concerns were also been raised that despite requests from officers for CCTV footage, no footage had been provided, which also breached conditions.

Town councillors opted to revoke Sorrento Pizzeria’s premises licence, which allowed the takeaway to sell food after 11pm, at a meeting of the licensing act sub-committee.

The takeaway can stay open but won’t be able to sell food after that time.

Inspector Tony Green, of Hartlepool Police, said: “This is further evidence that the authorities will not tolerate lax and ineffective management of premises associated with the night-time economy.

“I hope that this sends out a clear message to other businesses that although the police will work in partnership, we will not do so at any cost.”

Behroz Beni, the premises licence holder, and manager Ali Heydary, were both at the meeting but declined to comment afterwards.

Mr Beni told the committee that he was not aware of the conditions on the licence relating to CCTV provision.

Councillor Trisha Lawton, chair of the licensing act sub-committee, said: “The committee considered all the evidence submitted to it and decided that the premises licence holder had failed to comply with the conditions of the licence relating to the hours of provision of late night refreshment and the conditions relating to the provision of CCTV footage.

“The licence sub-committee considered that the premises licence holder was incapable of complying with the conditions relating to the licence and decided that no additional conditions could be added to the licence to enable the licensing objectives to be promoted.”

Coun Lawton added that in the circumstances the licensing objectives would “continue to be undermined” and that the committee had decided to revoke the premises licence.

Sorrento Pizzeria currently has a licence to serve “late night refreshment” between 11pm and midnight Mondays to Wednesdays, from 11pm to 2.30am the following morning on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from 11pm to 1am the following morning on Sundays.

Once the owners have received written confirmation of the decision then they have 21 days to decide whether to appeal.

l A 28-year-old man is due to appear at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court to face a charge of assault.