The Greedy Greek restaurant owners denied alcohol licence due to criminal activity at Friern Barnet venue

The owners of a new Greek restaurant have been denied an alcohol licence because of a history of criminal activity at the venue.

Sotiris Kalogirou and his wife were told by councillors this afternoon that their application for the Greedy Greek restaurant in Friern Barnet failed due to strong objections from police and local councillors.

The committee heard about a history of drug issues at the former social club and was told the couple had previously unsuccessfully applied for a firearms licence since owning the venue.

The pair recently spent “a great deal of money” transforming the club in Friern Barnet Road, which they have owned for the past five years, into The Greedy Greek.

But their bid for an alcohol licence was halted today over fears it would cause further issues in an area labelled a “crime hotspot” by local councillors.

Sergeant Mark Altman, a licensing officer at Colindale Police Station, hailed the decision as “a strong, positive message to diligent licence holders”.

Speaking after the meeting, from which the Times Series and members of the public were extraordinarily banned because of what chairman Andreas Tambourides described as “legal sensitivities”, Sergeant Altman said he was pleased with the outcome.

He said: “This has been a problem venue for us over the years. This was the right decision by the committee.

“It sends out a positive message to all the diligent licence holders that work in that trade who may see others getting away with things that are not legal.”

The club has been closed for the past two years following a string of police issues, including the execution of two search warrants in which drugs were found on the premises.

Mr Kalogirou and his wife, who brought their lawyer to today’s licensing meeting at Hendon Town Hall, had earlier told councillors they were determined to revive the business as a family restaurant.

But three local councillors submitted written objections and Barnet Police explained how the premises had come to their attention “on numerous occasions relating to the use and supply of drugs and illegal gambling activity”.

Councillor Barry Rawlings, deputy leader for Barnet Labour who spoke against the application at the meeting, said: “Friern Barnet Road is an area with a lot of vulnerable people – there is a children’s home and a lot of social housing.

“It has been highlighted as a hotspot for anti-social behaviour by the police and, with the history of the venue, this was an application of concern.”

Giving the committee’s decision today, Councillor Tambourides said the couple had to take “some responsibility” for the drugs found at the premises in the past.

The Kalogirous, who have a right of appeal, declined to comment after the meeting.

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