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Chatham Papa John's boss tells Medway councillors he is helping to reduce crime

By Chris Hunter

It’s round, made of dough, and covered in cheese – and could be the latest weapon in the fight against crime.

Takeaway shop owner Gurinder Atwal believes pizza has helped lower crime in Chatham, and told councillors he could bring rates down further if his business – Papa John’s in New Road – is allowed to stay open later.

Manager Sunny Jutty says he has no intention of changing the ingredients at his take away shop
Manager Sunny Jutty says he has no intention of changing the ingredients at his take away shop

It is just one argument he put forward in applying for a licence to extend his hours of delivery to 3am on Fridays and Saturday, and until 1am on Sunday.

And councillors appear to have swallowed the pizza boss’s claim by allowing his request, which some restrictions.

Speaking to Medway Council’s Licensing Hearing Panel, Mr Atwal said the shop would not attract drunken youths as the business would only be open for deliveries after 12.30am, not as a takeaway outlet.

Rather he suggested, the presence of his staff on the street would counter anti-social behaviour. “If we see anything illegal going on we call the police,” he explained.

“Prostitution has been going down in the area, and should go down even further.

“We’re not there to upset the residents. That’s the last thing we want to do. They are our customers.”

Papa Johns Pizza, New Road, Chatham
Papa Johns Pizza, New Road, Chatham

He went on to tell the Messenger how he and brother Sukdev had worked with police, since opening in 2012, reporting crime, providing CCTV evidence and even allowing officers to pose as staff members.

“The police said it was actually all down to Papa John’s,” he said. “Nowadays there’s no girls working in the area.

“When we first came here there were about 18 girls operating on the corner. We saw there was a big problem.”

Mr Atwal said staff had regularly called police 10 times a day to report prostitutes, and had helped combat drug crime too.

But Richard Borley, who lives further down the road, told the committee that some still feared potentially “noisy situations” outside the takeaway outlet, and others, including himself, had been disturbed by pizza deliveries to incorrect addresses.

But he told the Messenger there had been problems with prostitution and drugs in the area.

Cllr Diane Chambers said the committee would approve the application, on the condition that the shop installs blinds and signs that the business is closed for takeaways after 12.30am.

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