A secret nightclub in London had its licence taken away after people were caught partying in the basement.
Police were called to the Afrikiko Restaurant and Club in Peckham on multiple occasions after reports of a breach of the coronavirus regulations.
Over the course of six visits between the end of July and the end of September, it was discovered the venue in Old Kent Road was acting as a nightclub, and should be closed under the rules.
Social distancing requirements were not being followed and curfew rules were also being broken at times, as well as a number of breaches of the venue’s licensing conditions.
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Sergeant Keith Dempster, from the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘As the spread of the virus continues, this type of intervention will become even more important, and the vast majority of Londoners who are abiding by the rules rightly expect us to be doing it.
‘We don’t want to take away people’s livelihoods – we would far rather they engaged with us and operated in a safe way for everyone.’
Despite a number of discussions between police and staff members, the club continued to break the rules deliberately.
On the final visit on September 26, officers were blocked from entering the building and were told no one was inside. But when they gained entry they found around 45 people hidden in the basement.
Following a hearing on Tuesday, Afrikiko Restaurant and Club had its alcohol licence revoked by the Southwark Council Licensing Sub-Committee.
Sergeant Dempster added: ‘The Met is determined to protect Londoners by cracking down on the most deliberate and egregious breaches of the regulations that are putting everyone at risk.
‘By repeatedly operating as a nightclub, staff and patrons were exposed to a real risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus, which would have affected London’s communities.
‘Breaching these measures could also play a part in increasing the chance of further lockdown measures being imposed in London that would hurt other businesses.
‘Whilst we will always look to engage with licensed premises and explain the new regulations, robust action will be taken against those that simply refuse to abide by the law and who, at the end of the day, put lives at risk.’
The club has 21 days to appeal the decision.
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