Weston takeaway shut down over drug dealing allegations
PUBLISHED: 07:42 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:47 18 January 2019
A takeaway in Weston-super-Mare has been shut down for three months after allegations the business was a front for drug dealing.
Avon and Somerset police applied for a closure order for Mama G’s Jamaican takeaway, in Orchard Street, due to reports of antisocial behaviour and drug dealing.
Ricardo Robinson, aged 39, of Clover Ground in Bristol, and his partner Garcia Brown, aged 42, who own the business denied the allegations at North Somerset Court House in St Georges on Friday.
Mr Robinson said: “The allegation is absolutely scandalous. It’s simply not true by any stretch of the imagination.
“It’s a genuine business, which we rely on as a livelihood for our family.”
PC John Phippen told the court police had gathered evidence from 15 neighbours and businesses about suspicions of drug dealing.
He said officers received four to five calls a week about antisocial behaviour in Orchard Street since the business opened. He also told the court people come and go from Mama G’s with no food.
Police were called out in May to reports of a man with a machete outside the takeaway. Officers also executed a warrant at the property in January last year and found crack cocaine and heroin in a sink pipe.
The owners told the court they were unaware it was there and said a former member of staff had admitted putting it there. The matter is still under investigation.
Mr Brown, who donates surplus food to the homeless, said he was being made a scapegoat.
He said: “I’ve been forced to police the area around my business because of lack of police presence. I’ve had to dispense groups of people waiting in the alleyway, and I’ve been threatened twice. I feel victimised. We are being made a scapegoat.”
Chairman of the bench Lisa Lovett said: “There is a significant lack of evidence it is a takeaway restaurant, and a large weight of evidence that antisocial behaviour is related.
“It has been agreed by all parties that drugs have been found on the premises, and it has been accepted by all parties that violence has been taking place at the premises.
“There has been a number of reports from local businesses and residents, and this has put members of the public at risk. A closure order is necessary to prevent it from reoccurring.”