Concerns raised about anti-social behaviour linked to MJB hotel at public police meeting in Norwich

The Lodge Hotel, part of the MJB group, on Unthank Road, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Lodge Hotel, part of the MJB group, on Unthank Road, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Residents of a city street have been urged to keep anti-social behaviour diaries after concerns were raised about a controversial hotel during a public meeting.

Issues were raised about anti-social behaviour on Unthank Road linked to the MJB hotel during a public forum held by Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green and attended by Chief Constable Simon Bailey and members of his team.

Complaints surrounding behaviour from residents at the hotel included people urinating in the street, drug taking and prostitution.

Officers at the meeting confirmed anti-social behaviour is currently a police priority in the area but said there is not sufficient evidence to suggest behaviour at the premises was any different to similar hotels.

'We do know budget hotels are used for sex working but that in itself does not constitute an offence necessarily,' said Supt Dave Marshall. 'We do take it extremely seriously and I have worked with the local authority but the evidence and the last set of analysis I had is that MJB premises specifically were not out of kilter with offences at other budget chain hotels.

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'I want to work with the community and I want to resolve these issues but I cannot persecute a business owner because the business model they run is not liked.'

Supt Marshall added the best way to document offences in the area was for residents to keep anti-social behaviour diaries, an initiative Mr Green agreed with.

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'We can't put a task force of police officers forever on Unthank Road addressing issues that we don't like but are not clearly breaking the law,' he said. 'But if there are things in violation of the law police must be informed which is what was behind the diaries.'

The owner of the MJB hotel, Tony Burlingham, was contacted for comment but has not responded.

Other issues raised at the forum included police cuts, the perception of police by students at the University of East Anglia and mental health workers in the police force.

There was also queries about Operation Gravity, which has seen more than 170 people arrested in Norfolk and London in a drive to rid the county of heroin and cocaine.

Temporary assistant chief constable Paul Sandford said of the operation: 'The battle will go on for some time to come.'

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