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Landlord has closed Northampton bar formerly owned by convicted drug dealer

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The landlord of a Northampton bar has closed the business after he found out about his tenant’s drug dealing convictions, a licensing hearing heard today.

During a hearing at The Guildhall Mr Atwal, the landlord of Ice Lounge, in Bridge Street, Northampton, said he had evicted Joseph O’Neill from the premises after he found out about his role in trafficking large quantities of cocaine between Northampton and Hampshire.

Mr O’Neill, who bought the lease for the Ice Lounge premises in September 2011, was last month sentenced to 20 years in jail after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Mr Atwal, who is not local to the area, said he had transferred the bar’s licensing permit with immediate effect into his own name after he was notified by Northamptonshire police about the licensing review hearing.

Mr Atwal’s solicitor, David Dadds, said: “As soon as we could take steps we did so and have assisted the police as much as possible. We ask that no further steps be taken.”

In the papers prepared before the licensing hearing Northamptonshire Police alleged Ice Lounge was being used for money laundering purposes.

Licensing officer, PC Dave Bryan, said: “Ultimately, we are satisfied that the premise’s license has been transferred and that the organised crime group have been stopped.”

A police spokesperson said: “Organised crime groups are a scourge on society and when they are involved in licensed premises it’s a recipe for increased crime and disorder. This besmirches the good character of the vast majority of licensees.

“We won’t tolerate this in Northamptonshire as demonstrated today.”

The licensing committee ruled that the property owners may lease the building again, on condition that more thorough criminal checks are carried out on prospective tenants with the help of police, CCTV coverage is expanded, and sale of bottled alcoholic drinks is prohibited.

 

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