Kens Kebabs in Portsmouth loses late-night hot food licence after owner admits breaking the law

Kens Fried Chicken in Portsmouth's Guildhall Walk

Picture: Miles O'Leary
Kens Fried Chicken in Portsmouth's Guildhall Walk Picture: Miles O'Leary
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A takeaway has been stripped of its late-night hot food licence after its owner broke the law and kept it open after hours to serve clubbers in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Walk.

The owner of Kens Kebabs admitted to illegally trading after 3am, which police said had attracted trouble.

He knew applications were coming up to extend the licences (at nightclubs Astoria and Zanzi), he talks to the other operators in Guildhall Walk and has a good relationship with Lyberry and Astoria. He knew what was around the corner...

Representing Ahmed, Blake Morgan LLP partner, Jon Wallsgrove

Portsmouth’s licensing committee heard Kens owner Naseem Ahmed deliberately breached his conditions in order to ‘sustain business’ as he knew the extension of opening hours at nearby Astoria and Zanzi nightclubs was ‘around the corner’.

Yet it was said experienced takeaway boss Ahmed was ‘not naive to the world of licensing’ and should have formally applied for an extension to his hot food licence – which is from 11pm to 3am.

Ahmed applied for longer hours in 2011, but was turned down. He was issued a warning notice in 2009 for a breach of conditions at other venues.

Trouble also flared at a Kens Fried Chicken in Commercial Road last March and an extra security guard was put on the door.

PC Pete Rackham said Ahmed had failed to act responsibly.

Addressing the committee, PC Rackham said: ‘Ask him to do something and he (Ahmed) will do it, but it’s almost the minimal requirement of what you need to do, rather than the focus being on what you need to do to make the premises safer.’

Representing Ahmed, Blake Morgan LLP partner Jon Wallsgrove said: ‘This wasn’t driven out of greed and additional profits for Mr Ahmed.

‘It was driven by the need to sustain a level of business.

‘He knew applications were coming up to extend the licences at nightclubs Astoria and Zanzi, he talks to the other operators in Guildhall Walk and has a good relationship with Lyberry and Astoria.

‘He knew what was around the corner and took the decision to open up later.’

Mr Wallsgrove added: ‘He knew that in trading later, he was breaking the law.’

Tory councillor Ken Ellcome questioned whether clubs serving alcohol were partially to blame for the takeaway’s problems.

Yet PC Rackham said: ‘The venues work very well with us to prevent crime and disorder. They have very, very strict conditions on their licence and the incidents are not within their premises.

‘They tend to be on the front door, yet they are doing the right thing and refusing people service.’

The meeting was told two assaults took place at Kens in Guildhall Walk on August 28 and October 2 last year at 4am and 4.25am, when hot food was still being served.

A door supervisor on duty at the takeaway on October 13 had previously been sentenced to eight months in prison, despite causing GBH injuries to someone previously at the premises in an unprovoked attack.

On November 6, another door supervisor attempted to break up an altercation between a man and a doorman from another venue, which happened at 3.23am, outside operating hours.

PC Rackham added: ‘He could do much, much better, which is why we have had the issues.’

Ahmed has 21 days to appeal the decision. His takeaway can continue trading from 5am-11pm and can carry on selling cold food into the early hours.