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Southend pub denies police allegations
9:20am Friday 12th October 2012 in News
A SOUTHEND pub has strenously denied that its manager warned customers ahead of a drugs raid.
Police had claimed that a man at the Old Hat, in Alexandra Street, had alerted customers that officers were about to enter with sniffer dogs.
They say the man who did this later identified himself as the manager, following the operation on August 31.
During the operation a 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to supply, and released on bail.
The pub is now awaiting a licensing hearing to decide its future.
In a statement to the Echo, the Old Hat criticised the police approach and stressed their manager had never warned anyone.
They said: “This allegation is wholly disputed by the management of Old Hat and is supported by CCTV evidence which clearly shows that the manager did not leave the bar or warn any patrons of any such impending “raid”."
They said they believed their previous good relationship with the police had been seriously undermined.
In their statement, they went on to say they had received letters of support from customers and businesses expressing disbelief at the approach taken by police.
They added: ““Complaints have been made by a number of other licensed premises who have experienced a similar “heavy handed” approach by the Southend Police Licensing Unit following a consensual partnership relationship with them. “
Southend Inspector Matt Bennett said he did not consider it appropriate to comment further ahead of the licensing review.