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Elephant and Castle restaurant stripped of licence by Southwark Council after ‘possible machete attack’

A restaurant near Elephant and Castle station has had its licence to serve alcohol removed after two bloody incidents – including an attempted ‘cover up’ of a possible machete attack in July.

The Met asked Southwark Council to strip the Ecuadorean restaurant Rincon Costeno of its licence after a man – who had previously been barred – was found with “significant head injuries and a possible machete wound to his back” on July 10.

Officers said in their submission to the licencing sub-committee that they “found a significant amount of blood, tables and chairs turned over and smashed glass all over the floor.”

“No calls were made to the emergency services from the premises or staff at the premises.” The victim of the horrific attack was uncooperative, police added – and wanted the whole matter to be dropped.

Officers said in their report to the council: “The CCTV shows between 6 and 8 persons inside the venue sat at a table drinking what appears to be bottles of beer. One view shows the victim bending down behind the bar area, the suspect comes up from behind the victim and smashes a glass bottle across the back of the victims head.

“A fight then starts between the two males. The other people inside then attempt to break up the fight.” The victim was later treated by an ambulance crew and taken to hospital.

Officers added in the report: “From the details contained in the crime report… the victim was treated for a significant head injury and what is described by the [London ambulance service] as a machete wound to his back.”

The July 2021 attack came three years after the same victim was banned from Rincon Costeno after a fight outside, on Eagle Yard.

The ban was one of the conditions for the restaurant keeping its alcohol licence. The other condition was that managers had to put approved bouncers on the doors on Friday and Saturdays after midnight. Police said it was not clear if there were bouncers in the 2021 incident.

Officers said of the second incident: “By allowing [the victim] into the licensed premises they have breached the conditions of the premises licence, as a result a serious crime was committed inside the premises. No calls to the emergency services calls were received from the premises or staff.

“On attending the venue it was found to 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.”

The council’s principal licensing officer Jayne Tear said in a memo on July 27: “This total lack of understanding of what is required to manage a licensed premises and a disregard for any conditions imposed on the premises licence to promote the licensing objectives leaves me no alternative other than to recommend that the premises licence is revoked.”

Southwark’s licencing committee decided to strip Rincon Costeno of its licence at a meeting on August 11 this year after the police submission and Ms Tear’s report.

The licence holder’s lawyer asked for the licence to be suspended rather than fully revoked. He told the committee: “It’s accepted that the conditions were breached because of what happened. The point… is that the premises were not open and were in fact closed and he was expecting people to leave.”

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