December 9 2013 Latest news:
by Tom Marshall
Thursday, July 5, 2012
A popular landlady, who recently starred in a major TV documentary, was left shocked and embarrassed when dozens of police raided her pub this week.
Eileen Christie, 53, was drinking with customers when up to 40 officers pulled up in three vans and piled into the Prince, at about 9pm.
She was left fuming because it is the third time she has been targeted this year – yet police have found nothing wrong with her management.
She said: “All the customers were in shock, it was horrendous for them – we’re a family pub.
“It’s such a waste of taxpayers’ money. They have all these officers doing this, while a few yards down the road a man escaped from Pentonville and we didn’t have so many police.”
Ms Christie, whose pub is in Caledonian Road, Islington, recently featured on a BBC film, The Secret History of Our Streets.
She feels the frequent police raids leave a stain on her pub’s reputation and wants them to stop.
She added: “They keep doing it and each time they’ve found nothing wrong. I don’t know why they’re doing it and it looks really bad on us. It feels like they’re trying to discredit the pub, and people walking past will think we’ve been up to no good.”
As reported in last week’s Gazette, Ms Christie has decided to put the lease on the pub up for sale.
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “The number of officers may well have looked a bit excessive, but I understand the police had good reason for this raid. I’m sad it hurts her business, but it was justified.
“However, I do have great sympathy with Eileen Christie, and the presence of the Prince in our neighbourhood is a positive one. I am trying to persuade her to stay.”
A spokesman for Islington Police said the raid was part of Operation Condor, a Met crackdown on unlicensed activity across London.
One man was arrested outside, after he was searched and found to be carrying cocaine. He was initially quizzed about an unpaid parking fine.
Mitchell Grant White, 30, of Wallace House, Caledonian Road, Holloway, has been charged with possession of class A drugs and will appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on July 19.