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The General

The Mouse
Oct 24, 2003
My Gaff
Courtesy of: Echo online

FOUR Southend venues face having their licences reviewed after police found evidence of cocaine use.

Traces of the Class A drug were found in a series of police searches of pubs and bars. It is believed customers had taken cocaine in toilet cubicles.

The four premises are the Vie Bar in Leigh Broadway, the Exchange in Southchurch Road, Southend, Clouseau’s bar in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, and the White Horse in Southchurch Road, Southend. They could be subject to possible licence changes and new conditions, or even closure.

Operation Farmbike was carried out on November 12. It involved a team of 40 police officers, using sniffer dogs.

At the White Horse, as reported in Monday’s Echo, police found evidence of drug taking and received reports of fights and public safety concerns.

Licensing officer Sgt Danny Barnes said: “The reviews are as a result of swabs using the Ion Track system, which detects traces of drugs.

“The readings were sufficient for us to believe certain premises are not adhering to their licence objectives.

“There were high readings of cocaine in toilets. It seems to be the drug of choice.

“Nobody wants to go into a toilet and have the cubicle shut and hear that nasal sound.”

He added: “We have had good co-operation with all the premises and the owners have already agreed to certain conditions.” Sgt Barnes said it was decided to call the reviews to “send a message that we will not tolerate drugs being taken in licensed premises in the borough”.

The bar and pub owners have said they are working with police to prevent drugs use on their premises.

The review of Clouseau’s bar will be on January 18.

The licences for Vie Bar, the Exchange and the White Horse will be reviewed by Southend Council on January 21.

Licensees: we’re taking preventative action

LICENSEES have defended their bars and pubs in the wake of the police crackdown.

The licences of four Southend pubs are to be reviewed this month after police drugs searches.

The management at the Exchange, in Southend, and Clouseau’s, in Westcliff, said changes were already being brought in to improve the situation. Andy Dickins, leaseholder of Clouseau’s said: “We were shocked and surprised to hear the results of the search.

“We have worked with the police and they have been reasonable with their requests.

“We are putting CCTV into areas outside the toilets and increasing observation by staff.”

A spokesman for the Ex-change, which is run by the East Anglia Pub Company, said: “We’ve had a meeting with the police and they are aware we have a very good reputation in the town.

“However, this kind of thing does take place.

“We have implemented measures that will discourage any use of substances on the premises in accordance with what the police have asked for.”

The spokesman said CCTV and regular checks were already in place but searches will be stepped up.

A worker at Vie Bar in Leigh said the owner was on holiday and unable to comment.

The Orchid Group, which owns the White Horse pub, said a new manager was appointed on January 4 to implement changes.


Hardly a shock, the White Horse has always had a bad reputation but i've never seen/heard it going on myself!