Police in push for Ilford venue to be shut down after young man shot and stabbed

Patrick Grafton-Green
Crime scene: Police were called to Praba Banqueting Suite in the early hours of February 5

Police are calling for an east London banquet hall to be permanently shut down after a young man was shot and stabbed in front of horrified partygoers.

Officers are demanding the closure of the upmarket Praba Banqueting Suite in Ilford over concerns over "gang-related issues" there.

Police and paramedics descended on the venue after the 22-year-old victim was shot and stabbed during a 21st birthday party in the early hours of February 5.

One witness described the scene as a "war zone". The victim was rushed to hospital with serious injuries, Scotland Yard said.

The scene outside Praba Banqueting Suite in Ilford after the shooting

Police said they have already received several other calls to the venue this year and have concerns over “serious crime and disorder”.

In a report to Redbridge Council, PC Ian Taylor said: “Since the venue came under new ownership in 2016, police have become increasingly concerned with the manner in which the premises are run.

“In recent weeks the venue has been the subject of information indicating that the venue is attracting gang related issues from other parts of London.”

The venue was forced to surrender its licence last month following the shooting.

Its owners Praba Banqueting Limited are due before Redbridge Council's licensing committee next week.

The company has applied to transfer the licence to a different company but police want the venue shut down altogether.

In a letter to the sub-committee, PC Taylor said: “Police have held meetings with the owners of the venue giving advice and impressing upon them their responsibilities as owners.

“This advice, police believe, has gone unheeded leading to an event being booked at the venue which has resulted in serious crime and disorder, an investigation into attempted murder, a threat to public safety and public nuisance.”

The scene of the shooting in Ilford

He added police have “little faith” that the current owners are running the venue acceptably and said that repeated advice from police licensing officers appeared to have gone "unheeded”.

PC Taylor said: “Police are objecting to the premises licence being transferred to the new owners as based on our dealing with them to date.

“Police have concerns and doubt the premises would be operated in a fit and proper manner.”

A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said: “Redbridge Council has received an application to transfer a licensing act of 2003 licence to a third party.

“The letter included in the committee papers from PC Ian Taylor outlines the police objection to the transfer taking place.

“The licensing sub committee on March 29 will hear evidence from the Metropolitan Police under the crime and disorder licensing objective and determine if the transfer can take place.”

The Standard has contacted Praba Banqueting Suite for a comment.

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