Birmingham & Black Country

Big Break Snooker Club loses licence over sex abuse claims

Big Break Snooker Club
Image caption A three-month closure order was granted to police on 1 May

A snooker club in Birmingham that is alleged to have been used for child sexual exploitation and drug-dealing has lost its licence.

Police said a number of continuing investigations were connected to the Big Break Snooker Club in Digbeth.

The city council's licensing committee heard evidence of "widespread" drug use and was told that rooms had been used to abuse children.

The club has so far been unavailable for comment.

It voluntarily closed its doors in March and on 1 May West Midlands Police was granted a three-month closure order at the city's magistrates' court.

At the time, Insp Will O'Connor said inquiries had shown a "pattern of young women or girls entering the club with older men".

'Den of iniquity'

He said: "Information we uncovered suggests the girls had gone on to spend time in private rooms with the men where they were exposed to alcohol and drugs and groomed for sexual activity."

Insp O'Connor said during a visit by officers in March known offenders were discovered near the club's entrance, as well as "bags containing heroin and crack cocaine on a sofa in one of the rooms, used condoms, a lock-knife and a hammer lying around".

He said the evidence suggested the venue was not being used as a snooker club, but as "a place for young men to meet, use and supply drugs, commit crime and engage in sexual activity".

On Wednesday, Birmingham City Council's licensing committee also heard evidence of assaults by customers in the nearby area, as well as breaches of fire and smoking regulations.

Chris Neville, head of licensing, said three girls who were reported missing were found at the club on separate occasions, while a Facebook post by another girl linked her with the property.

He said while no sexual activity was witnessed by officers, the overall evidence presented outlined a "den of iniquity".

Mr Neville said Wednesday's licensing review was automatically triggered by the closure order granted to officers at the beginning of the month.

The committee agreed to revoke the club's licence to "promote the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, and the protection of children from harm".

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