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Half-kilo coke bust threatens future of Holloway club

Arda 2, on Seven Sisters Road Arda 2, on Seven Sisters Road

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
4:24 PM

»A club faces closure after a police raid found half a kilogram of cocaine – worth up to £25,000 – on the premises.

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Club’s crime shame

Police claim Arda 2 has been linked to several serious criminal incidents.

June 2011 - premises owner arrested and charged fir assaulting ex-girlfriend because she had a new boyfriend

Sept 2011 - two drunk people involved in fight outside the venue

July 2012 - two men seriously assaulted after being chased by six males from the venue

Aug 2012 - owner/manager arrested and charged with GBH after a man beaten with iron bars and poles

Oct 2012 - two men repeatedly stabbed while sitting in a car outside the venue in an attack police link to drugs, guns and gangs

Apr 2013 - man arrested for distribution prostitution cards

Nov 2013 - half a kilo of cocaine found during drugs raid

Police cite eight surveillance reports between 2011 and 2013 referring to drugs and firearms being present - one report also mentions prostitution being run from the venue

During the swoop on Arda 2, a Bulgarian restaurant and nightclub in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, at least 500 grammes of the drug were found in the flats above the venue where the owner in said to live. Eight people were arrested.

Police say the cocaine find on November 8, was just the latest in a string of serious crime incidents related to the nightspot – others include a stabbing, a beating with an iron bar and intelligence linking the venue to guns, gangs and prostitution.

Officers have now asked Islington Council to review the licence.

In a report to the town hall, Pc Paul Hoppe said the owner and operator of the venue – Detar Hekuri – had been arrested for a number of very serious crimes.

He added: “It is the opinion of the police that he is not running a safe and professional venue, as is demonstrated by the large number of licensing conditions which are flagrantly being abused.”

Arda 2, which is still open for business, was hauled before a licensing committee in 2011 and had its opening hours slashed following complaints that late-night drinking and fighting were making neighbours’ lives a misery.

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, who lives nearby, said: “Over the years I have myself been disturbed and received numerous complaints from others about loud music, raised voices and occasional fracas involving the clientele of Arda 2. I am not surprised that the police have concerns about the alleged supplying and use of hard drugs on the premises.

“I was concerned to know it is suspected that patrons also have access to firearms.

“I support the view of the police that the premises should close pending a full review of the licence.”

Mr Hekuri said: “It [the cocaine] is nothing to do with the restaurant. People know me for many years and everybody knows it’s upstairs and nothing to do with the restaurant. I’ve worked in this place for eight years – I don’t like this kind of thing.

“The restaurant is a favourite in the community – people come in very serious and nice. December is fully booked by different kinds of companies.”

The last date for representations to the licensing review is December 25 and the hearing is likely to be held in late January or February.

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