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Heavy drinking, fights and white powder - What police saw at city club facing licence review

PUBLISHED: 11:30 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:03 13 April 2019

Owner, Mo Ali, standing outside Bollywood nightclub Karishma. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Owner, Mo Ali, standing outside Bollywood nightclub Karishma. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

Police have said drug-taking, excessive drinking and fighting have all been reported at a Bollywood-themed club which is facing the potential loss of its licence.

Karishma on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich will next week discover whether it can remain open, after Norwich City Council began a licensing review over excess noise.

The review came after City Hall’s environmental health team responded to complaints that the level of noise at the venue was affecting nearby residents.

In its response to the review, Norfolk Constabulary’s licensing team has questioned whether the club is doing enough to prevent anti-social behaviour on site.

In the nine months the club has been open, officers have recorded nine incidents on the premises including those relating to drug use, “heavy intoxication” and fighting.

In her review response, Michelle Bartram, licensing officer, said: “There are concerns that the nominated DPS (designated premises supervisor), Shumon Choudhury, does not regularly attend the venue to supervise the alcohol sales.

“It is preferable that the nominated DPS has the day-to-day running in order to be confident that alcohol is being sold legally and responsibly.”

However, owner Mo Ali has insisted that the DPS attends the club every day it opens - even if he is not there the entire time.

The licensing officer added that on a visit to the club to investigate noise complaints, Mr Ali had admitted to breaking the noise limitation conditions of his licence.

Currently, the venue is required to use a sealed noise-limiting device to ensure any music is contained inside the building.

However, on investigating the venue, City Hall environmental protection officer Richard Divey said music was clearly audible as far as 70 metres away from the venue.

He said: “Inside the bedroom of another flat, 30m from the rear wall of the venue, bass noise was very loud and at times clearly audible over the sound of a conversation with the window closed.”

A Norwich City Council licensing sub-committee will next week review the venue’s licence, with the option to revoke it available to them.

However, a report to the committee suggests that placing a limit on music levels at 90dB on the ground floor and 80dB upstairs should be enough to keep the club in business.

Mr Ali said: “The biggest issue of the review [the noise] has been resolved and I hope the councillors will see that I have taken action and no further action will be needed.”

Incidents witnessed by police

Norfolk police licensing officer Michelle Bartram said nine incidents occurred at the venue since it opened. She listed the following as the most significant:

• September 16, 2018: Police officers witnessed an unconscious woman being carried out of the venue outside of its permitted operating hours. Officers found an after party at which those attending were smoking and the venue manager was given a warning.

• October 14, 2018: A fight broke out inside the club at closing time, with one person detained for being drunk and disorderly

• November 11, 2018: An ambulance was required for a woman who was unable to walk. It is believed she was overly intoxicated, possibly due to drugs and alcohol.

• December 22, 2018: a man who had been ejected from the club was arrested for possessing class A drugs

• February 9, 2019: Police found two heavily intoxicated women on Prince of Wales Road who had been drinking at Karishma and had white powder around their nostrils.

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