A HISTORIC town centre pub which saw four arrests for suspected drug offences last month has had its alcohol licence completely withdrawn by councillors.
West Mercia Police officers raided Ross-on-Wye's Crown & Sceptre pub in Marketplace at the top of the high street on Friday, December 1, and then requested to Herefordshire Council's licensing department the removal of the license.
It was initially suspended at a meeting on December 5, but minutes of a behind-closed-doors council committee meeting four days before Christmas day reveal that it has now been revoked, owing to concerns “that Michael Hudson continues to be in occupation [of the pub]”.
The press and public were excluded from the December 21 meeting and some documents restricted.
But minutes show that councillors heard representations from police licensing officer PC Dean Wall, James Noble of Stankerr Pubs representing the premises licence holder, and council officers.
The committee said it recognised officers’ concern over Michael Hudson's involvement in the pub in coming to its decision to revoke the Crown & Sceptre’s licence.
Dating from the 17th century, the pub by the town’s Market House hosted frequent live music, DJ and open mic nights.
Police have revealed that four men were arrested when the December 1 warrant was executed at the pub, when class A and B drugs were allegedly found.
A force spokesperson said three men, aged 35, 39 and 25, were arrested on suspicion of the supply in Class A and B drugs as a result of the raid.
And another man, aged 43, was arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis.
Sgt Alice Bennett said: “The proactive warrant was based on good intelligence around the illegal supply of drugs from this establishment.
“I hope this shows we will continue to work hard to keep drugs off our streets and reduce crime that brings misery to the people of our community.
“I urge anyone with concerns about the supply of drugs to please get in touch, we act on all reports that we receive.”
A force spokesperson added: "The local community can help us by continuing to report any signs of criminal activity – the easiest way to do this is on our website.
"Any bit of information, no matter how small it may seem, could help make a big difference. You can report online under the Tell Us About section at West Mercia Police.
"If you have information about drugs and drugs supply and don’t want to speak to police, you can report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-org.uk."