Crown and Pepper in Croydon shut over fears of revenge killing
A popular family restaurant was shut by police after a gang fight sparked fears of a revenge killing.
The Crown & Pepper in High Street was forced to close after members of the notorious West Croydon gang Jaffna Boys attacked a bartender with links to rival gang the Tooting Tamils.
Soon after the fight, just before midnight on October 17, Tooting Tamils launched an armed reprisal attack on the Jaffna Boys member, who narrowly escaped serious injury.
Police arrested nine Tamils after the attack, many carrying weapons.
Detectives now fear the Jaffna Boys, a violent gang with links to attempted murder, drug supply and extortion, will launch a potentially fatal revenge attack focussing on the Crown and Pepper.
Detective inspector Rob Fisher said the gang had "the means and contact" to launch an attack on the pub-restaurant.
He added: "I consider the likelihood of such a revenge attack as highly probable. If such an attack was to take place the numbers involved and weapons that would be used would cause serious potentially fatal injuries."
Detectives' fears led them to ask the Crown and Pepper's owner, Rajesh Shulka, to shut the venue as a precaution the night after the attack but he refused, so police issued a closure order.
The order was upheld by Croydon Magistrates' Court on October 21. The court said the restaurant must remain shut until a council licensing sub-committee meeting considered its status on November 5 or until it met certain licensing conditions.
It has now reopened.
The sub-committee has the power to modify or revoke the pub's licence or remove its licensee.
Metropolitan Chief inspector Duncan Slade said police had been forced to close the pub out of fears for public safety.
He said: "It is of note that these premises are not a 'late night, club-style venue' but one that attracts families seeking a pleasant meal out.
"Such a clientèle would have no understanding of the risks they faced were our intelligence proved correct."
Tooting Tamils and Jaffna Boys, also a predominantly Tamil gang, have been embroiled in a long-running feud which has seen large violent clashes, sometimes arged with knives, cricket bats and hockey sticks.
Two Tamils and one Jaffna Boy have died in previous fights.
Are you and Crown and Pepper customer? Do you think it should shut? Post a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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