Probe into ‘lockdown party’ as restaurant and bar alleged to have defied rules

Diamonds, in Upper St Giles in Norwich, is being investigated over an alleged lockdown breach. Pic:

Diamonds, in Upper St Giles in Norwich, is being investigated over an alleged lockdown breach. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

A restaurant is being investigated over allegations it served food and alcohol to a group of 16 customers when it was meant to be closed under the national coronavirus lockdown.

And, separately, a bar is also under investigation amid reports it hosted a ‘lockdown party’ when it was supposed to be shut as part of the restrictions.

Norwich City Council’s enforcement team is investigating the allegations, one of which involves Diamonds Mediterranean restaurant and cafe in Upper St Giles in the city.

The council’s licensing department is seeking a review of that venue’s licence.

Richard Divey, the council’s public protection officer, said, in his application for that review that the venue had been serving food and alcohol on Tuesday, November 10 - six days after all restaurants were ordered to close their doors, as part of the nationwide efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.

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Mr Divey said 16 customers were found to be sitting in the restaurant eating and drinking at about 12.50pm that day.

He said evidence collected on the visit by officers showed the company director of the licence holders - Durres Foods Ltd - was aware it should have been shut.

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Mr Divey said: “This was a criminal offence that failed to prevent crime and disorder on the premises.”

He said it could not be shown that the designated premises supervisor (DPS), responsible for running the business and authorising alcohol sales, was aware that alcohol was being sold.

Mr Divey said: “I have tried to contact the DPS on the registered phone numbers for him, leaving messages for him to return my call urgently and by visiting his home address. No contact has been forthcoming.”

This newspaper has contacted the restaurant and the director of Durres Foods Ltd, but has not had a response.

The city council is also investigating reports a city bar held a ‘lockdown party’, although it has not been named.

A City Hall spokeswoman said: “We are looking into an allegation of a lockdown party at one bar in the city and, separately, a group of people eating and drinking inside a hospitality premises during lockdown. Both investigations are ongoing. The team is working with the police to investigate the very few licensed premises failing to comply.”

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