A problem pub has been closed after it was found to be a haven for illegal activity.
The welfare of children as young as six was put at risk by parents taking them to the Coach and Horses in Carshalton straight from school, drug taking and stolen goods sold on the premises, were raised at a meeting of Sutton Council’s licensing committee.
Officers said assaults were also common at the pub in the High Street, along with illegal lock-ins, and highly intoxicated customers being allowed to serve themselves behind the bar.
At the meeting on Monday the pubs owners, Punch Taverns, agreed to close the pub for six weeks from next Wednesday until it found new suitable tenants to run it.
Sutton Council also slapped a series of conditions on the future running of the pub.
Gary Grant, a lawyer representing the Metropolitan Police, told the hearing: “There has been a lack of appropriate management that has led to a complete lack of control of the operation.”
He said a pubgoer who had visited the establishment for 20 years said it “had gone completely to pot”, while police who visited it were met “with a uniquely hostile atmosphere”.
Mr Grant said even a designated premises supervisor, brought in as “a knight in shining armour” to improve the running of the pub, had been convicted of fraud within a month of his arrival.
Punch Taverns, who came to an agreement over the future of the pub in private meetings with the police before the hearing, agreed that the pub’s licence be revoked for six weeks.
A member of bar staff who had worked at the pub for 22 years wept as details of the closure were read out to the hearing.
A spokesman for Punch Taverns at the hearing said he was confident the pub would be turned around under new management.
Councillor Sue Stears, chairman of Sutton Council’s licensing committee, said: “It’s clear there have been some very serious problems at the Coach and Horses pub, including multiple breaches of its current licence.
“The licence holder, Punch Taverns, has had every opportunity to improve the situation, and I hope that the strict conditions we are imposing will send out the message that this lack of management will not be tolerated.”