Search

Undercover police bought cocaine from dealers in Belsize Park pub

PUBLISHED: 11:53 29 November 2012 | UPDATED: 12:57 29 November 2012

The Sir Richard Steele in Steeles Village

The Sir Richard Steele in Steeles Village

Archant

Conditions have been imposed on a Belsize Park pub where drug dealers openly sold cocaine to police officers during a six-month undercover operation described as one of the biggest drug busts in the area in recent times.

The operation, codenamed Bridgefoot, was between March and September this year after officers were tipped off about prolific drug-dealing at The Sir Richard Steele pub in Haverstock Hill.

Officers were able to buy cocaine on 24 separate occasions from five dealers who were operating within the venue.

On Tuesday, the pub’s licence was reviewed at Camden Town Hall where it was decided the premises can keep its licence but its beer garden – where many of the drug deals took place – will now close at 8pm daily.

The pub has already voluntarily removed flat surfaces where people could snort cocaine and has got rid of toilet seats in bathrooms to discourage drug use.

The pub’s management are concerned the early beer garden closure will force smokers on the street when they go for a cigarette, which could create more noise for neighbours and will be more difficult for staff to patrol than the garden area.

Speaking on behalf of the Metropolitan Police at the meeting, legal advisor Edward Pleeth said: “The Sir Richard Steele is known within the drug-dealing fraternity as a place to deal drugs. It is a safe haven for drug dealers.

“One of the ways to combat this is to close the beer garden.

“We have come a long way but to allow the beer garden to stay open after 8pm, which we know is at the centre of the drug deals, is a step too far.”

After the operation, police arrested five people for supplying Class A drugs and one for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

All six have been charged with the offences and three have pleaded guilty so far.

Stephen Cox, managing director of Faucet Inn, which manages the pub, and Ian Collins, the pub’s new manager who took up his post in September, said the clientele has changed and the pub’s focus is now on serving good food.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Cox said: “Hopefully, we can now continue to make this a great, local community pub.

“There are some positives which have come out of this.

“Hopefully there is now a relationship between us and the police.”

However, he added: “I am concerned about the viability of the pub going forward now.

“The garden being closed from 8pm will have a drastic effect on trade. But we will have to see how it works out over the next few months.

“We are very proud to be owners of the Steele’s. We love the pub and it will be a shame to see the loss of the pub in the community.”

The pub was forced to accept 11 conditions, which include CCTV both inside and out, regular checks of surfaces for drug residue, and no exit and entrance through the beer garden.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

15:46

With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe expecting to spend her third Christmas in Evin prison, the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt used a visit to Iran to slam the middle-eastern nation’s imprisonment of UK dual nationals including the West Hampstead mum.

15:28

Police want the public’s help to identify a man wanted over two Golders Green burglaries.

12:08

Dawn Barnes will be looking to upset the odds as she has been reselected as Lib Dem candidate for the Hornsey and Wood Green seat.

10:23

Eastenders actor and Celebrity Masterchef winner John Partridge will be switching on the Archway Christmas lights.

09:29

Hampstead’s Lisa Deaner, 54, has been shortlisted for an Anthony Nolan Supporters award by the blood cancer charity.

07:00

Save Swiss Cottage is crowdfunding for a judicial review into Camden Council’s decision to approve the Construction Management Plan (CMP) for 100 Avenue Road last week.

Yesterday, 16:55

A workshop owner who engraves benches on Hampstead Heath was forced to break in to his own business to retrieve machinery after the landlord changed the locks and evicted him over unpaid rent.

Yesterday, 14:00

Champagne corks were popped on Saturday as the well-known former Blustons clothes store in Kentish Town has been re-opened as a vintage charity shop.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now