Hackney pub The Dolphin faces closure after police brand it as hotspot for thefts
- Credit: Archant
Thousands of people – including celebrities – have this week shown their support for a much-loved boozer that could be closed down after serving drinks for more than 150 years.
The Dolphin, in Mare Street, Hackney Central, could soon be pulling its last pints after a spate of thefts at the pub led police to recommend a review of its licence.
Now a Hackney Council committee will decide the fate of the venue at the end of the month. Options include the withdrawal of the licence or a drastic cut in hours.
Nearly 2,000 people have signed an online petition to save the popular venue and even X-Men: First Class actor Michael Fassbender’s social media team and Xtra Factor presenter Caroline Flack have got on board.
The husband and wife team who own the pub –and even tied the knot there – are devastated by the threat to their livelihood.
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Co-owner Yasar Yildiz said: “We love The Dolphin. We completely did it up 10 years ago and have worked hard to build the business. My wife and I even got married in The Dolphin in 2004.
“We’re disappointed this is happening. The police are saying we’re in the top 10 places for thefts in Hackney. We don’t know what people are reporting to the police. We don’t have any idea what people are supposed to have lost.
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“We have 10 security guards and search everybody coming in. These days, pickpockets are very professional. It’s is happening everywhere. It is not just happening in The Dolphin.
“People are coming to The Dolphin after they’ve been to other places, so it’s not always clear where they have lost their property. We keep any lost property on the books. During the last two weeks, there have been no thefts.”
His wife and co-owner Nuvit Yildiz said: “We are collecting signatures and more than 1,500 are supporting the pub. We have a free cloakroom, we have security, we have CCTV and after these problems started, my husband stays at the door as a security guard and does not let anybody who seems dodgy in.”
Manager Kay Underdown admitted there had been a spate of thefts but said a large number of people had brought in valuables and not used the free cloakroom.
She said: “When people bring items like a Mac computer into a 700-person-capacity pub and don’t use the cloakroom, we can’t be responsible for the items.
“A lot of times I’ve watched people put their bags down and go and dance and leave their bags unattended.
“I spend most of my weekends trying to reunite people with their lost items on Facebook.
“Obviously people need a crime report in order to claim something back from insurance, so they report stolen items to the police.
“However, there’s a discrepancy between the numbers the police have given us and what we’ve recorded.”
Hackney police claimed there had been 92 reports of thefts between June 2012 and June 2013 – more than double the previous year’s figure.