A TAKEAWAY will be forced to close early for a fortnight after police complained that its late opening was adding to crime in the town centre.
Spice Hut, in Bradshawgate, will now have to shut at 11pm for two weeks after councillors said the owners had shown a “blatant disregard” for their licence, which tells them to close at 4am.
PC Andrew Vernon told a town hall hearing yesterday he had evidence of seven incidents which took place at the takeaway after 4am, including an attack that left one customer needing seven stitches on their head.
He said: “On June 13 there was a wounding — one of the most serious types of assault — after an argument inside the takeaway.
“If that premises was closed, it might not have happened.”
Other incidents after 4am included fighting inside the shop, racially aggravated abuse at staff and reports of a woman banging on the window trying to fight two others inside.
During the hearing, PC Vernon showed CCTV evidence of the takeaway with people entering and ordering food until 4.30am — and after the owners switched the lights off inside after 4.20am.
On other occasions the shop was spotted serving customers until 5.48am.
Spice Hut owner Muhammad Chohan said it was difficult to ask people to leave his takeaway when they have had a lot to drink.
He said: “If the food is not served to those waiting I would face many problems from the customers, especially if they are the influence of alcohol.
“There have been times when people have been present even after my permitted hours and I do my best to ask them to leave without causing any problems.”
Police officers had asked Bolton Council’s licensing committee to revoke Spice Hut’s late licence completely, but councillors decided to temporarily curtail its opening hours.
Cllr Kevan Jones, committee chairman, said it was important to show other premises that they could not get away with flouting the laws.
He added: “We took on board what was said by PC Vernon and Mr Chohan, and felt there had been a disregard for the opening hours.
“Sometimes you have to make a stand, and fire a warning shot that these actions have consequences — not just to Spice Hut, but to other business owners.”