Sudbury’s Easterns Station Lounge could lose its licence because it served alcohol to children while TV personalities flashed their genitals, according to police.
Suffolk Police has applied to remove the premises’ licence, held by owner David Pratt, due to numerous alleged breaches of its conditions over the course of several months.
The case is due to be heard by Babergh District Council’s licensing sub-committee on Monday after police applied for a faster review process than usual due to the severity of the concerns.
The application made by Suffolk Police’s licensing officer Gary Pinyoun, on behalf of the force’s superintendent Terry Byford, stated that: “On September 15, police were in the vicinity of the nightclub and were dealing with sporadic occurrences of disorder when a female customer came out of the club and made an allegation of rape against a male still present inside.”
The boy was arrested and found to be 17 years old. He admitted buying alcohol and drinking it in the club, although no further action was taken regarding the rape allegation after an investigation.
Four more people under the age of 18 were found to be in the club and drinking alcohol, leading police to find that licence conditions relating to identification, searching and age challenges were not being implemented.
Then, on November 17, four children aged between 15 and 17 were allowed into the club and served eight bottles of alcohol unchallenged during a police and Trading Standards test purchase operation.
During the same night, the cast of The Valleys, a reality television show, were brought to the club as the main entertainment. They were said to be “steaming drunk” on arrival before continuing to drink “like animals”, according to door staff.
“The level of disorder increased when some of the female members of the group began exposing their genitalia to customers, an action promoted by Mr Pratt,” stated Mr Pinyoun’s report. “Door staff described this behaviour as disgusting and diabolical.”
Door staff told police Mr Pratt deliberately breached his licence conditions and told others to do so. They described: Three or four fights every night that go unreported, people allowed re-entry to the club after being ejected for fighting, a man collapsed in a toilet and left lying in a pool of vomit on Mr Pratt’s instruction and people being allowed entry after 2am.
Police had spoken with Mr Pratt and amended his licence in May 2011 with new conditions as the club had “suffered with a high level of disorder”.
Mr Pratt applied to amend some of these conditions in July 2012 as he felt they were impossible to uphold, but his application was refused.
A letter from James Garrett, trading standards officer at Suffolk County Council, stated that interviews with sellers after the test purchase highlighted a lack of understanding of the ‘Challenge 25’ policy, no formal training and no awareness of any refusals register.
Inspector Paul Crick, of Sudbury Police, said he was unable to comment due to the upcoming hearing.
Mr Pratt, who has held the position of designated premises supervisor at the club since 2005, could not be reached for comment, although it is understood that he intends to challenge the application.