London SE1 community website

Elephant & Castle bar’s licence revoked after ‘machete’ incident

Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter

An Elephant & Castle bar and restaurant has had its licence to sell alcohol revoked after being linked to 'machete' brawl and bottle attack.

Elephant & Castle bar’s licence revoked after ‘machete’ incident
A Met Police forensic vehicle outside El Rincon Costeno on 10 July

Southwark Council's licensing sub-committee stripped the premises of its licence after a hearing on 11 August.

The Met Police applied to review El Rincon Costeno's licence after a man suffered "significant head injuries" after being smashed with a glass bottle in July.

This meant the eatery was in breach of its licensing conditions.

Police said after the July incident at the Ecuadorian restaurant in Maldonado Walk that no one present rang emergency services and it was a "deliberate act from those at the premises to cover up the fact a serious crime" happened there.

Back in 2018 the restaurant also saw a brawl involving up to 20 people outside the restaurant.

A police officer attended the incident after inspecting another venue nearby.

He "noticed that one of the males was waving a large machete-style knife towards other members of the public in a threatening manner".

According to the police they later tried to get the venue's CCTV footage but were told the system was broken.

The venue's licence was reviewed by the Southwark Council as a result and several conditions were enforced, including permanently barring two people and making sure two bouncers worked Friday and Saturday nights.

But on July 10 this year, police got several calls about another fight at the venue at about 2.40am.

According to the Met Police's licence review: "Police arrived on scene to speak with the victim, the victim was uncooperative towards police, he apparently could not remember where or how he received his injuries and wanted the matter forgotten."

Officers discovered the incident took place in the bar but found it was locked with no staff around.

Someone with a key came down and let police in, where they found a "significant amount of blood, tables and chairs turned over and smashed glass all over the floor".

CCTV footage showed about seven people inside customers who had stayed after hours and a man who had been barred previously.

It showed him bending down behind the bar and a man coming up behind him and smashing a bottle on his head.

A fight then broke out between the two men, while the other people tried to pull them apart.

The victim, who left, was later brought to hospital in an ambulance.

Police said in evidence to Southwark's licensing sub-committee meeting on August 10: "No calls to the emergency services calls were received from the premises or staff.

"On attending the venue it was found locked and secured with a crime scene unattended inside.

"I am of the opinion that this was a deliberate act from those at the premises to cover up the fact a serious crime had occurred on their licensed premises."

During the committee meeting, police, a council licensing bosses and a health and safety officer, all said they lacked confidence the owner could keep to the conditions of the licence.

For the restaurant owner, solicitor Robert Sutherland, said his client knew one of the people inside and believed he would send people home.

He said: "It's accepted that the conditions were breached because of what happened. The point from [his] perspective is that the premises were not open and were in fact closed and he was expecting people to leave."

Mr Sutherland urged the committee to suspend the licence rather than revoke it.

He proposed changes to the licence including reducing drinking hours and the number of people allowed in at one time.

He also said the business is in "substantial debt" and without the licence would not survive.

But the committee decided to revoke the licence their reasons are expected to be published in five working days.

The SE1 website is supported by people like you
Related forum discussions
We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

7,000+ locals read it every week. Can you afford to miss out?

Read the latest issue before signing up

Archive
News archive from February 1999 to January 2001
Got a story for us?
Contact us with your tip-offs and story ideas.