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Cannabis cafe is closed by police

The Brighton and Worthing Argus, 9th December 2005

An infamous cannabis cafe was shut down yesterday after it was repossessed.

Police and bailiffs moved in to close down the notorious dope den in Victoria Road, Worthing, after the managing agent obtained a repossession order for breach of contract on the lease.

A locksmith broke his way into the building by opening the six inch-thick reinforced doors just after 8am.

Although the cafe was empty at the time, a 40-year-old man turned up and was arrested for being in breach of his bail conditions.

He was later released from custody.

But he went back to the cafe at 2.45pm and was arrested again after he assaulted a police officer.

The owners of the building have removed windows and steel bars from the cafe to make it uninhabitable.

Problem Vans have also removed items from inside the cafe.

Inspector Steve Eldridge, of Worthing South neighbourhood policing team, said: "I am very pleased this action has been taken and I am hoping it will put a stop to this long-running problem for businesses and residents in this area.

"The police will continue a robust approach to prevent the illegal distribution of drugs. There is always the possibility the cafe could be reopened but the building's owners will try to prevent that.

"Clearly, it's also possible other cafes may spring up in Worthing and we will close them down and prosecute those responsible."

The cafe was previously shut down in August after a dramatic siege involving more than 40 police officers.

About 30 people were marched outside once police had smashed their way into the heavily-secured building.

Three people were arrested for supplying cannabis and a substantial amount of the drug was seized.

But the drop-in centre and internet cafe reopened only ten days later.

The building's owners hope yesterday's repossession will finally solve the problem.

Relieved people from neighbouring businesses and properties gathered to watch yesterday's police operation.

One man, who works nearby but did not want to be named, said: "We're chuffed to see all the windows and steel reinforcing bars have been finally removed.

"I don't see how the cafe can go back into operation now.

"It's quite a relief."

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