Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Chicken shop can now sell alcohol despite police's gang fears

Councillors argued there was no evidence directly linking the chicken shop to local gangs

Hero for Chicken shop can now sell alcohol despite police's gang fears
Wings Hut in the Avenue, Highams Park (credit: Paul Iontton)
By Victoria Munro 17 November 2021

A Highams Park chicken shop can now sell alcohol and stay open late into the night despite police fears it will stoke gang activity.

Wings Hut in The Avenue was granted a licence this week to open and deliver alcohol until 1am on weekends and midnight on weeknights.

This is despite warnings from the Metropolitan Police that the shop is located in the stomping ground of the Selrack gang and that later hours could spark a rise in crime.

Speaking before the licensing committee on 10th November, police officer Kerry Ann Tilley said Wings Hut is located “within 50metres of a known drug-dealing location” and multiple venues controlled by the Selrack gang.

According to a 2018 report on the borough’s gang activity, the gang are a small group led by a pair of brothers and often seen as a rival to the more dominant Chingford Hall gang.

Officer Tilley said the gang are based in and around the Aldriche Estate, just a “short walk” away, and that the shop opening later was “very likely to increase groups congregating” outside.

She said: “I can see [the potential for] large groups gathering outside, including opposing gangs, and therefore increasing the likelihood of crime and disorder.”

She also suggested there was evidence local gangs used Wings Hut and other nearby businesses to approach and recruit young people.

The committee also received written evidence from Brian Nish, a senior antisocial behaviour officer at the council, who said he was “deeply concerned” by the requested licence.

He wrote: “We have received complaints of drug activity in the past in this area… [and] have found weapons and drugs stored at the play area in front of the Tesco.

“I do feel that offering a late-night takeaway of both food and alcohol in the area would give a possible base of congregation for groups and gangs in the area and heighten the possibility of dealing, drug use and potential violence to the early hours.” 

Explaining the committee’s decision in writing, officers cited a lack of evidence of crime “directly linked” to Wings Hut and argued alcohol deliveries “would not contribute to existing issues in the area”.