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Hours slashed at legendary late night drinking den The Dolphin

PUBLISHED: 17:25 19 September 2013

The Dolphin Pub, in Mare Street, Hackney.

The Dolphin Pub, in Mare Street, Hackney.

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A legendary late-night drinking den has had it's opening hours slashed after police branded it the worst theft hotspot in Hackney.

The Dolphin, in Mare Street, Hackney, has been refreshing thirsty punters for 150 years and is well-known across London as a notorious after-hours party venue, with revellers drinking and dancing until 4.30am.

But despite Hollywood and TV stars backing a campaign to save the boozer, it’s was ordered to stop serving at 1am at a Hackney Council licensing committee meeting on Tuesday.

According to police, crime figures at The Dolphin are “disproportionate” compared to other venues in the area, with 70 crimes reported in 2012 and 102 so far this year.

In comparison 15 crimes were reported at 1600-capacity Netil House last year, and the 500-capacity Laundry had just two.

Speaking at the meeting, Sgt Guy Hicks conceded that the situation had ¬improved since a review in July, after the club manager and head of security had worked hard to tackle the problem proactively with increased security and a free cloakroom.

But he added: “We have lost faith that the Dolphin has the will to sustain the improvements. No one is going to deny they have done some wonderful things in the last two months but three days before the review they were still breaching their ¬licensing conditions.”

He criticised co-owner Yasar Yildiz’s “lackadaisical approach” and said the pub “operates more like a nightclub” than a pub.

In the early hours of Saturday morning officers from licensing Operation Condor could hear loud music outside the venue at 2am, when the sound should have been turned down by 11.30pm.

When they approached Mr Yildiz, he said it was “just a bit of music”.

“I would say the late night licence coupled with the music is without a doubt a contributing factor to attracting lots of people there, the venue is full to capacity and as a result we are seeing the thefts occur,” said Sgt Hicks.

Police also slammed the pub ¬for being “irresponsible” after they started a Twitter campaign offering punters pints for a pound, ¬regardless of the outcome of the meeting, as “commiseration or celebration”.

Sgt Guy Hicks said it was “irresponsible in this day and age,” and suggested moves like this accounted for its popularity.

X-Men actor Michael Fassbender’s social media team and Xtra Factor presenter Caroline Flack are among over 2,700 fans who have signed an online petition to keep it open.

At the meeting, the pub’s barrister Rachel Kapila called for less “draconian measures” than cutting the pub’s hours and capacity, which has been reduced by 150 to 570.

She said Mr Yildiz was not ¬acting because of the threat of losing the licence – as police implied - and had taken steps to improve the situation by e¬mploying someone to help prevent thefts.

Cllrs Brian Bell, Barry Buitekant and Abraham Jacobson deliberated for over an hour ¬before announcing their decision.

According to the pub’s Twitter account they may contest the decision. That means the pub can continue operating as normal until the appeal date.

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