Brighton Restaurant Closes After Drugs Found Throughout Premises

Brighton Restaurant Closes After Drugs Found

Karen’s Diner in Brighton Marina will shut down on March 4th after concerning traces of illicit drugs were discovered by police. The closure comes just a day before the restaurant was set to face a council licensing panel hearing.

Widespread Drug Contamination

During a licensing inspection on February 2nd, police found significant amounts of cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and ketamine contaminating multiple areas of Karen’s Diner. This included the toilets, kitchen, reception area, and even a customer dining table. Most alarmingly, an extremely high cocaine reading was detected on the baby changing station surface. As Sergeant Vince Lam explained, this raises serious safeguarding issues:

“There are some very high readings and most alarmingly a [very high reading] for cocaine on the baby changing table. During changing, the baby’s fingers could contact the surface where drugs have been consumed and [they could] then place their fingers in their mouth causing possible harm.”

Contamination was so widespread that police believe it indicates drug use and dealing occurring openly inside the premises.

Numerous Safety Violations

In addition to the drug traces, Karen’s Diner was also found to be breaching various licensing and fire safety regulations. For example, a December inspection by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Services identified 14 areas where rules were not being followed. These issues around fire detection and warning systems were still not addressed properly by the time of the February check.

Franchise Agreement Terminated

In light of the drug and safety violations, the Karen’s Diner chain has terminated their franchise agreement for the Brighton Marina location. A spokesperson acknowledged that operations clearly diverged from corporate guidelines:

“Clearly the restaurant has operated outside of our guidelines and this is unacceptable.”

They also thanked the thousands of customers who had visited and apologized for the disappointment caused by the impending closure.

The case will still proceed to a licensing panel hearing on March 5th where councillors are expected to fully revoke the premises’ operating license. However, the voluntary preemptive closure suggests an acknowledgment by owners that continued business would likely be untenable.

This dramatic case highlights how venues must take drug policy and safety rules seriously. When such dangerous violations occur, swift regulatory and legal intervention is required to protect public health. Responsible businesses will ensure diligent compliance well before problems escalate to the level seen at Karen’s Diner.

Photo: “Diner” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Testing

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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