Hove bar loses drinks licence after police find repeat evidence of drug use

A popular cocktail bar has lost its alcohol licence after high levels of cocaine were found in the toilets.

The Gin Tub in Church Road, Hove, failed three drug swab tests carried out by Sussex Police over a seven-month period.

Cocaine was found in the toilets and bars, as well as traces of heroin and methylamphetamine.

Owners Steve and Justine Guille and son-in-law Scott Callister told a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel on Monday 9 December that they had improved security and redesigned the toilets without flat surfaces.

But this was too little too late, according to the panel of councillors consisting of Jackie O’Quinn, Clare Rainey and Dee Simson.

Their formal decision letter said: “The panel are very concerned that the management have not taken the issue of class A drug use in their premises seriously enough despite the evidence, interventions and warnings from the police.

“The panel appreciate that some of the right measures may now be being put in place but this is only really in response to this review and has not been tested.

“We are not confident that the management will sustain lasting improvement and compliance as they do not appear to have understood their responsibilities and responded effectively at the appropriate stage.”

Sussex Police recorded the first high reading for cocaine in February.

They were assured that action would be taken but a second set of higher readings was recorded in April.

The owners received a warning and met with Sussex Police but a third set of high readings were taken in September.

On each occasion the levels of cocaine use in the toilets showed direct contact with what was described as a bulk amount of the drug.

During the September swab test, an empty cocaine wrap was found in the downstairs men’s toilet.

Trace levels of heroin and meth were linked with cross-contamination by people who had been in contact with the drugs elsewhere.

Mr Guille was told that he could continue to trade over Christmas and the new year during a 21-day grace period to allow time for an appeal to be lodged.

The Gin Tub owners were contacted for comment.

  1. Jo Reply

    Drugs are nothing to do with class. But Brighton and Hove seriously needs to wake up and take notice of the problems that are festering within its bohemian green haze.

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