Councillors impose robust conditions on East Ham betting shop

Newham Council has imposed tough new conditions on a betting shop described by a councillor as a “honeypot for gangsters”.

Councillors sitting on the licensing sub-committee on November 1 said the William Hill branch at 181 High Street North, in East Ham must have

a full CCTV system with four external cameras, a minimum of two members of staff and an intruder alarm and a panic button. The shop must also insist customers undert 21 provide ID and the store must carry out an undercover test purchase at least once every six months.

East Ham councillor Ian Corbett told the hearing the William Hill branch was “a honey pot for gangsters and gangland people from other parts of London to come to”.

The committee imposed the conditions after hearing that police had been called 15 times in a year about the branch.

The council had been contacted 112 times about the same branch which was the most frequently attended by police in the east area of the borough, mainly because of rowdy behaviour.

The licensing sub-committee was also told a 15-year-old ‘test purchaser’, employed by the council in an undercover operation, had been allowed to illegally gamble on a gaming machine at the premises

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A police report said the premises “had a history of order and disorder inside and out, with gangs loitering outside entering and exiting the premises. Police had been called to the premises where disorder has escalated within the premises on a number of occasions (with people) drinking alcohol openly in the street directly outside, making passers by cross the road or walk in the road to pass.”

A spokesman for William Hill said: “William Hill is disappointed that post the hearing Newham continues to publicise data relating to our premises that was disregarded by the Committee. There was, in this data, very little evidence of the premises itself being associated with crime.

“Since the failed age verification test in May 2013, William Hill colleagues have carried out over 800 ‘Think 21’ challenges in this particular betting shop. We consider the decision of the Licensing Committee itself to be fair and just and we encourage Newham Council to focus on the real root causes of crime in the borough.”