How police learned about Portsmouth restaurant’s illegal boozy late-night karaoke sessions

Whisky bottles and glasses spotted in a hidden karaoke area at Melody in Commercial Road, Portsmouth
Whisky bottles and glasses spotted in a hidden karaoke area at Melody in Commercial Road, Portsmouth
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HERE is the timeline of events in Hampshire Constabulary’s investigation into Melody Chinese Restaurant in Commercial Road, Portsmouth:

As we revealed today, licensing officers from the police and Portsmouth City Council say that it should lose its licence.

It comes after PC Pete Rackham discovered people drunk on Chivas Regal whisky, being sick inside the premises, and also smoking indoors - all outside the hours that the karaoke bar is allowed to be open.

Here’s how his investigation unfolded...

* Friday, April 28: PC Pete Rackham, licensing officer, is on duty in uniform when he receives a tip-off that unlicensed activities are taking place at Melody.

He gets there at 10.45pm and sees two men in the seated area of the restaurant. A sign on the front door states that the premises is closed. Recorded music and the sound of people singing is heard from inside the restaurant.

Officers from the city council’s licensing service are called and arrive at 11pm. Music is still heard at 11.05pm. PC Rackham goes in each karaoke room, discovering around 10 people in each room.

Occupants are singing along to karaoke with bottles of whisky spotted and people smoking.

Police are told by the customers that they paid £20 each to use the rooms until 6am. Photos are taken of the rooms and of the advert displaying karaoke packages available to customers (see right). Premises licence holder Wei Wei Jin is warned that the establishment is breaking the law.

* Sunday, April 30: PC Rackham drives past Melody and spots the lights on at 12.30am. Music is heard from within the premises but the front door is locked.

PC Rackham asks a member of staff to open the door and occupants are found in all three karaoke rooms. Whisky is on tables and the rooms contain a strong smell of cigarette smoke.

At 12.45pm, Wei Wei Jin attends the premises and is unable to locate the premises licence. She is warned again.

* End of May: PC Jackie Cherry and city council licensing officer Kevin Weeks attend Melody and inform Jin of her licensing requirements, giving her a month’s warning to sort out the establishment.

* Saturday, June 24: PC Rackham attends the premises at midnight. He spots similar activity to the first two visits and two men being sick in a toilet sink.

* Thursday, June 27: Police apply for city council to review the premises licence.