REVEALED: Portsmouth restaurant let customers drink and smoke in karaoke rooms until 6am

Melody Chinese restaurant in Commercial Road, Portsmouth
Melody Chinese restaurant in Commercial Road, Portsmouth
  • Commercial Road restaurant uncovered to be carrying out illegal activity in police investigation
  • Licence could be revoked after customers were allowed to drink and smoke in hidden karaoke area at back of shop
  • Restaurant manager found to be drunk while activity carried out
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A RESTAURANT offered customers all-night drinking sessions for as little as £20 in three hidden karaoke rooms.

Melody, a Chinese restaurant in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, faces having its licence revoked after police officers uncovered illegal sessions on three occasions earlier this year.

It is believed that whatever conditions are placed on the licence, will just be breached

PC Pete Rackham, Hampshire police licensing officer

The restaurant is only licensed to be open and sell alcohol until 11pm.

An investigation found that customers were offered karaoke packages to drink, eat as much as they like – and smoke indoors – for prices as low as £20 until 6am.

It was also found on the third of the three visits that Wei Wei Jin, the licence-holder and designated premises supervisor, was said by police to be drunk at the restaurant while the illicit activity was taking place.

Following the investigation, Hampshire police have called for the premises licence to be revoked.

PC Pete Rackham, licensing officer says in his application for the city council to review the licence: ‘It is the view of the Chief Officer of Police that Wei Wei Jin has failed to comply with her premises licence conditions and adhere to her permitted hours.

‘On the latest visit by police, evidence of drunkenness was also apparent which severely questions the ability of Jin to operate the premises effectively.

‘It is believed that whatever conditions are placed on the licence will just be breached.

‘The only realistic measure to prevent crime at the premises is to revoke the licence.’

Police first visited the premises – which was said to be closed – on April 28 at 11.05pm.

PC Rackham entered the karaoke area – which is hidden behind a brown small door next to the toilets – to find around 10 people in each room, alongside a TV, karaoke machine, and bottles of whisky being drunk.

A customer panicked and extinguished a cigarette, with large air filters spotted to mask the smoking.

The customers told PC Rackham that they all paid £20 each to use the rooms and drink, eat and sing until 6am.

At the time, the licence-holder was warned about being prosecuted.

PC Rackham then returned to the premises on April 30 to see the same thing happening at a later time of 12.30pm.

It was found there was no CCTV, no staff training documents and no age verification in place.

Jin was spoken to again at the end of May and given a month’s warning. However, the same activity was then found at a third visit by PC Rackham on June 24, which led to the application to review the licence.

Nikki Humphreys, the city council’s licensing manager, said she had ‘grave concerns’ about the business.

She stated: ‘These are very serious matters, I concur with the views of the Chief Officer of Police to revoke the licence.’

The application will be heard by the sub-licensing committee on Friday at the Guildhall from 10am.