King’s Lynn bar licence terminated following drugs find

N Joy bar on Norfolk Street.
N Joy bar on Norfolk Street.

A Lynn bar has had its licence revoked following the discovery of a cannabis factory at the site.

Police say thousands of pounds had been spent to set up the illegal enterprise at the N-Joy premises in Norfolk Street.

And fire safety officers have warned that a reveller who was locked in the building after falling asleep in the toilets could have died if a blaze broke out, because of inadequate safety practices.

A West Norfolk Council licensing sub-committee voted to terminate the site’s licence for the sale of alcohol and the playing of live or recorded music following a hearing yesterday.

Its chairman, Chris Crofts, said the licence holder, Mahir Kocaslan, had shown he was “completely unsuitable to hold a premises licence.”

The panel had earlier heard that Norfolk Police were seeking the termination of its licence following the discovery of a cannabis farm, containing around 60 plants, at the site in June.

Force licensing officer Chris Brooks said residents had noticed a strange smell in the area for several weeks prior to the discovery.

Mr Kocaslan was arrested in connection with the haul and admitted spending between three and four thousand pounds on setting up the factory, the hearing was told.

Mr Brooks confirmed Mr Kocaslan would be prosecuted on the issue, adding: “He was using the premises he was responsible for to produce cannabis with intent to supply.”

However, he also admitted there was no evidence to suggest that the drug was being sold to people at the bar.

The haul was the latest in a long line of breaches of the bar’s licence, which was originally granted in March last year.

The list included one incident in which dozens of revellers were seen on the premises well after their normal closing time and another in which a woman was locked inside after falling asleep in the toilets.

Joycelin Girling, safety advisor for the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Had there been a fire, the young lady would have been in danger of serious injury or death.”

She said that prohibition notices were first issued for the building in November 2015, because of a lack of proper escape routes for people living there.

However, Mr Kocaslan admitted breaching them in November 2016.

Mrs Girling also described management procedures as “lapse” and said smoke detectors had not been activated even when the woman who was locked inside had been smoking.

The hearing was also told that more than £9,000 was owed to the borough council in council tax and business rates relating to the bar. Attempts to recover the debt have so far been unsuccessful.

Mr Kocaslan did not attend the hearing or submit any representations to it, but he does have 21 days to submit an appeal to magistrates.

However, officials said they understood he had been evicted by the building’s owner, who had initially discovered the cannabis when he visited with bailiffs.