Greenwich club where bar staff sold 'hippy crack' balloons to customers shut down

A nightclub at the centre of a murder investigation has been shut down after staff were allegedly caught selling laughing gas balloons over the bar.

The South Pole in Greenwich High Road had its licence called in for review. Workers were reportedly seen on CCTV handing the balloons, filled with nitrous oxide, also known as “hippy crack”, to customers. It followed a series of violent incidents, including punters turning up armed with bats, knives and knuckledusters, and attacking staff - writes standard.co.uk.

In February, Jozef Boci was beaten on the street following a brawl inside. The 30-year-old from Catford died in hospital six days later. Four men have since been charged with his murder.

Scotland Yard asked Greenwich council to review the licence for the basement nightclub and its upstairs sister venue the North Pole, a restaurant/bar.

Officers say there were 12 violent incidents across the venues in seven months and “extensive use” of laughing gas.

They agreed the North Pole can stay open with reduced hours.

The South Pole has since been closed by owners the Zinnureyin family, who say they intend to take it upmarket. A police spokesman said: “There are allegations of drugs being smoked within the premises and police have CCTV of bar staff selling inflated balloons to patrons, who are seen to suck the balloons.

“This is believed to be ... nitrous oxide, an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. There have been reports of door staff being bottled, fights outside, including a male being hit with a bat, another with a knuckleduster and suspects armed with knives.”

Gary Grant, barrister at Francis Taylor Building, said owner Osman Zinnureyin had agreed to make way for a new pre-mises supervisor. The bar staff alleged to have provided balloons were “no long employed” and the North Pole would be turned into a modern venue serving craft beer and high-quality food.

He said: “Mr Zinnureyin has co-operated throughout with police, as have his staff. He has voluntarily agreed to close permanently the South Pole.” The North Pole’s closing time will change from 3am to 1am on Friday and Saturday. The licence will be discussed at a meeting at the town hall at 6.30pm tomorrow.

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