After spotting the lights on, quick-thinking PC Pete Rackham popped into the North End takeaway at 3.04am, two-and-a-half hours after it was supposed to have closed.
Ali Baba’s is the second fast food joint to find itself in hot water after staff were caught serving food past the agreed time – last week we reported that Ken’s Kebab’s, in Guildhall Walk, had lost its licence for doing just that.
It may not be a big deal to some, but to those living nearby the racket that will have come from clubbers hungry for some greasy chips on the way home from a night out would have been exhausting.
There is no doubt that late-night takeaways attract anti-social behaviour. Even their most ardent supporters will admit that after about 1am, most of their customers will have had a few drinks.
That is why they have to apply for licences – to ensure that the business can be regulated. And that is why it is imperative that the law is adhered to.
And even if you knowingly move close to such a place, you should be able to expect some respite once the doors have closed at a reasonable time.
Keeping those sort of hours purely to soak up late-night drunken trade is just greedy and unfair on those living nearby.
Ali Baba’s had been advertised on online food delivery websites as being open until 4.30am, when it should have closed at 12.30am.
In December PC Rackham also drove past the business at 2am to see a bed sheet up at the window and lights on inside.
The owner, Azizullah Yaqubi, said the death of his mother and his own ill health meant that he had taken his eye off the ball.
But that’s no consolation for neighbours who were no doubt expected a decent night’s sleep after 12.30am.
PC Rackham’s actions over a £1.99 bag of chips should be applauded.