Clampdown on takeaway hours

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TAKEAWAY owners have been ordered to close an hour earlier after police complained the town centre venue was staying open longer than it should.

Cleveland Police say Marios, in Church Street, Hartlepool, has flouted its licence on several occasions by staying open past 3am at weekends.

Officers say that has “directly or indirectly” led to incidents of violence and disorder at the premises.

Councillors sitting on Hartlepool Borough Council’s Licensing Act sub-committee met to hear the application for the review of the premises licence.

After a two-hour hearing, councillors modified the current conditions.

Marios must close at 2am between Thursday and Saturday, with last orders at 1.45am, the owners must employ two door supervisors from midnight until it closes on those days and they must improve the CCTV system.

One of the police concerns was that they have not been provided with CCTV images of incidents when asked.

The councillors heard evidence from PC Andrew Thorpe, of Hartlepool Police’s licensing team.

A statement in the papers by PC Thorpe read: “In the past six months, Marios takeaway have had five reported incidents with their premises being named in each one of them.

“At least two of these incidents could have been avoided if Marios had abided by the conditions stipulated on their premises licence.”

Officers stressed they have explained to the owners on several occasions they must stop serving food at 3am and that incidents could have been avoided if the shop had closed.

The statement added the owners were spoken to three times between October and December 2010 about the opening hours.

Papers referred to an incident on October 1 this year when the premises was still open at 3.20am with people being served food inside.

That resulted in a fight inside the premises which spilled out on to Church Street.

Just a week later on October 8, police were called to the premises at 3.13am after reports of a drunken man causing staff problems.

Speaking at the meeting, PC Thorpe said: “The incidents could have happened at any premises.

“The issue we have is that they don’t seem to be doing anything to help themselves.

“We have tried to communicate with them.”

Neither Mousa Mousa, who is the licence holder, or Ali Navazani, who owns the takeaway, attended the committee hearing.

They could not be contacted by the Mail.

The owners have 21 days to appeal the decision and Marios can remain open until 3am, Thursday to Saturday, for the time being.

The three-strong sub-committee could have taken no action, modified the licence, suspended it for three months or revoked it.

Conservative councillor George Morris, committee chair, said: “The committee considers this is necessary and proportionate for the promotion of the licensing objectives.”

If the committee had suspended or revoked the licence the takeaway could still have traded during the day until 11pm, as they do not need a late night refreshment licence for that.