A pub labelled as being at the “heart of a large scale cocaine business” has had its alcohol licence revoked after dealers sold drugs to undercover officers on-site.
The sale took place at The Leather Bottle in Shrub End, Colchester, after police had been sent to disrupt the supply of Class A drugs.
According to Essex Police, the white powder was used in “plain sight” during the times officers were there in from June to November, Essex Live reports.
They were even able to purchase cocaine several times over the time period.
A meeting of Colchester Council licensing committee yesterday confirmed the licence was removed after the pub was described by police as “arguably the heart of a large-scale cocaine supply business”.
The report, which has been seen by the Daily Star, states: "(The pub) is pivotal in the success of the sale of the drugs for this particular group of subjects.
"The venue is frequently used by the customer base of the supply group – the users, as a place to successfully obtain Cocaine and make associations to do so.
"This is evidenced by the undercover operatives who were able to make purchases with ease from deployments into the public house but also due to the nature of the conversation they have been involved in and overheard whilst in the pub.
"It is also evident that customers…are able to openly take illicit drugs within the venue; in full view of any other customers, with a blind eye turned by the management and license holders.
"On a multitude of occasions, the operatives have been offered cocaine from subjects and other customers within the pub, this has occurred openly in the venue, even in front of the bar."
One account of a deal in the report read: “During the evening, one subject of the investigation, whilst playing pool, requested that the operative followed him to the toilet.
“Once within the cubicle the subject of the investigation took out a plastic bag containing white powder and offered the operative a line of cocaine saying words to the effect of “I just want to offer you a line of coke. You’re not police are you?"
However, Mr O’Toole, representing the licence holders, denied the allegations.
A spokesman for the man said: “Our client is prepared to implement any new conditions the committee thinks suitable and categorically rejects any members of staff or the licence holders were involved in any illegal activities, such as allowing others to drug deal or commit any acts of violence either on or off the premises.”
Chairing the meeting, Councillor Roger Buston said: “The sub-committee considered that the supplementary information that had been provided by Essex Police contained overwhelming evidence suggesting that extremely serious criminal activity had been associated with the premises and the sub-committee took the view that the licence holder had either been aware of these activities that were referenced or should have been aware of them.”
Quirebuild Limited is listed as the licence holder.
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