A Ghanaian restaurant on Thornton Heath High Street has had its alcohol licence revoked following years of what Croydon Council described as a "clear and consistent breach".

Police callouts to Efie Ne Fie increased in frequency and severity since it was awarded the licence to sell alcohol from 10am until 10pm on Monday to Sunday in 2016. 

Representing the Met Police’s team at the licensing sub-committee last week, Claire Nevin said: “If anything, the level of crime and disorder has only escalated at the premises with the passing of time.”

The issue was compounded by the licence holder, Roberta Asafu-Adjaye, who consistently failed to install working CCTV on the premises.

This omission meant three investigations into crimes on the premises were dropped.

These crimes included a knife attack on one male attendant and the theft of a young female’s phone. 

Despite persistent efforts from the Met Police and Croydon Council’s licensing team, which included letters and site visits, Adjaye "consistently" failed to correctly install working CCTV at the premises.

This meant they were not meeting the licensing objective of "preventing crime and disorder.”

Police were first called to the address at 50 Thornton Heath High Street on December 19, 2019, following an allegation of common assault and theft by a customer at the premises.

On arrival, officers observed there was no CCTV installed at the premises. They also found no evidence of staff training records or the refusals register required by their licence. 

PC Garrod and council licensing officer Kay Jones visited the address in January. Following a talk with Adjaye, it became apparent that all five licence conditions were being breached.

Adjaye was invited to address these issues on a number of follow-up visits and in frequent emails from the police and licensing team. 

Prior to the first lockdown in 2020, Adjaye emailed the police to tell them of their recently installed CCTV system, however, police did not visit until the restaurant reopened in the Summer of 2020.

Following the post-covid reopening, police received a report from a 21-year-old female.

She said an older man had made sexual comments that made her uncomfortable so to avoid this man she left the restaurant, accidentally leaving her phone inside to be stolen.

When police arrived to investigate, it turned out that there was no CCTV in working order, despite what Adjaye said before the lockdown.

The third incident occurred in July of this year when police were called to the premises by a male who said he had been the victim of a knife attack there.

Upon arrival, police observed he had a laceration on his right hand, which was about 2 to 3 centimeters long.

The police once again found that the restaurant lacked working CCTV, meaning they had to drop the investigation.

While this incident encouraged the licensing team to call Efie Ne Fie’s licence into question, it would not be the final incident.

On October 13, officers attended Efie Ne Fie after reports of a "huge fight" were received.

It transpired that Adjaye had rented out the back room for a private party, which became rowdy following a noise complaint. 

After Adjaye kicked the revellers out of the restaurant for smashing her window, a fight broke and one girl was knocked unconscious after a bottle was smashed over her head.

Despite having called the police to the restaurant, Adjaye refused to aid the police investigation.

Unsurprisingly, Croydon’s licensing team lost faith in Adjaye’s ability to uphold her licence conditions.

During the licensing sub-committee, Nevin said: “It is a serious thing to revoke somebody’s licence and we fully acknowledge that, but we’ve taken the stepped approach recommended in the guidance and not jumped to this as our first step.

"We have tried and tried again to explain and liaise with the licence holder but it has been unsuccessful."

In further justifying their decision, the listening team referred to the already above-average level of crime in Thornton Heath and the pressing need to prevent further crime and disorder.

The restaurant is also half a mile away from Selhurst Park and sees a sharp increase in footfall on matchdays.

Adjaye’s son, Aaron Ezu, who also works at the restaurant, told the committee: “We have heard several complaints come through but it’s not like we haven’t complied with it. We had trouble with the cameras due to the changing of the layout but it wasn’t intentional.

“We recently bought a new HD CCTV, which we set up. However, we didn’t know that the one terabyte memory meant it didn’t save footage after 30 days. We had to buy a new one terabyte CCTV camera because the one terabyte was draining too much battery. We have also placed challenge 25 stickers everywhere and have a training book.”

He added:  “It is a mother and son business, problems happen here and there but now everything is up to date. Anyone can come and have a look to see.”

Before delivering their decision, Adjaye told the committee: “ I’m running this business to feed my family. I have learned from my mistakes and my son has tried to keep everything up to date.”

Despite being stripped of its licence, Efie Ne Fie remains open as a restaurant.