Town clerk denies one of the claims in letter of support for Wisbech mayor
- Credit: Town Council
A neighbour of Wisbech mayor and publican Aigars Balsevics has written a letter of support for him ahead of a licensing committee on Monday when he faces 21 accusations of breaching Covid 19 regulations.
However part of the letter's contents have been challenged - and denied - by Wisbech Town Council.
The letter writer accused police of at one stage of “placing a surveillance camera team in the council chamber opposite over a number of days at public expense to elicit no evidence of any wrongdoing”
But town clerk Terry Jordan refuted that.
HERE IS HIS STATEMENT
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I understand that the on-line version of the Wisbech Standard makes reference to a letter purporting to be from a "neighbour" of the Wisbech Town Mayor
The letter had apparently been sent to the District Council’s licensing team in connection with next week’s licensing hearing. I understand that the letter accuses the police of “placing a surveillance camera team in the council chamber opposite over a number of days at public expense to elicit no evidence of any wrong doing”.
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I feel that I must inform you that there is absolutely no truth to the “neighbour’s” accusation regarding police action. There has been no access by the police to the Council Chamber at Wisbech Town Hall for any purpose and no contact, whatsoever, between the police (or anyone else) and officers of the Town Council regarding this matter.
Police say the response to them by Cllr Balsevics on Christmas Eve at the Angel showed an “insulting disregard” to licensing objectives.
However, a resident has told Fenland Council that “whatever the police claim happened on Christmas Eve, it is not indicative of any sort of pattern spread over a number of years.
“The arrival of police is markedly at odds with their usual lacklustre and lazy approach to public drunkenness.”
It adds: “What has been consistent is police harassment of the current licensee of The Angel.
“This has included variously the search of his premises with an improperly filled out search warrant and the deliberate smashing by police officers of doors to hotel bedrooms”.
The letter alleges a dozen police officers in full riot gear (helmet and riot shield) once raided the pub.
And police once also “repeatedly questioned a female member of staff asking her over ten times whether she was a prostitute”.
The letter writer also accuses police of once “shouting at a 7-year-old dining at the pub" and it made the youngster “wet himself”.
Police were also accused of “placing a surveillance camera team in the council chamber opposite over a number of days at public expense to elicit no evidence of any wrongdoing”.
The letter writer says: “I would urge the committee to consider the wider aims of licensing.
“The Angel Inn has a significant Eastern European clientele constituting probably 50 per cent of its customers.
“It is one of only two venues within Wisbech where the two communities freely mingle, the other being the Church of Our Lady & Saint Charles Borromeo and its associated Rosmini Centre.
“Many Wisbech residents are already concerned about public drinking and the police inertia in dealing with it.
“The closure of the pub most used by Eastern Europeans would both send the wrong message and possibly increase the tendency to socialise on the streets and hence promote street drink.
Monday’s hearing is at 11am and can be seen live on Fenland Council’s YouTube channel.
The premises licence holder is Elgood & Sons Ltd, and Cllr Balsevics is the designated premises supervisor (DPS).
Cllr Balsevics has held a personal licence since 2006 and has been the DPS since 2013.
"The premises licence holder will normally have given that person day-to-day responsibility for running the premises,” says a Fenland Council report.
The review has been applied for by environmental health officers at Fenland Council, supported by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue and Public Health.
Police visited the pub on Christmas Eve after receiving an email alleging Cllr Balsevics was hosting a party for a local football club.