Managers of a bar next to the Bank of England where a £1million cannabis factory was discovered now face being stripped of their operating licence.
City of London Police raided the Canvas Bar in January after receiving reports of a “strong smell of cannabis”, finding 1,142 drug plants in the basement along with heating, lighting, and watering facilities.
Black Gallery Ltd, the firm in charge of the bar, had now been accused of being “not a fit and proper company” and could be stripped of its operating licence by the City of London Corporation.
PC Daniel White told a licensing review panel the raid took place on January 14, during the third national lockdown and nearly a year after the bar’s licence had been temporarily suspended for non-payment of annual fees.
“Officers could smell a very strong cannabis aroma coming from within the venue and saw that all the windows were boarded and covered to obscure visibility of what was going on inside”, he said, in a statement to the panel.
“Police entered the building which comprises of the ground floor as the bar level with a main staircase leading down to the basement levels. Within the second basement level officers found what can only be simply described as a cannabis factory.
“The factory consisted of heating, lighting and watering facilities consistent with the productions of cannabis. The factory also consisted of 1142 cannabis plants which have a street value of £1,038,500. This was a considerable operation giving its size and amount of plants already produced.”
The bar, in Throgmorton Street, faces further claims that it was opened to customers when its licence was still suspended.
PC White said he and a City of London licensing officer paid a visit on June 11, finding customers being served drinks.
He said the man in charge, Ronnie Cohan, was “belligerent, rude and argumentative”, and three days later they returned to find the bar open again, with “scantily dressed females” taking part in a photoshoot on one of the basement levels.
The licensing review – brought by the City of London - began last week but was adjourned until September 14 for a solicitor representing the bar to attend the hearing.