Edinburgh McDonald’s restaurant loses 24-hour licence after bottling incident

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An Edinburgh McDonald’s restaurant has been stripped of its 24-hours a day licence after staff failed to call police when a customer was hit over the head with a glass bottle.

The fast food restaurant on London Road will now have to shut its doors at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and 1am the rest of the week after councillors refused to approve a 24-hour application, following a trial period.

The McDonald's on London Road 'has been stripped of its 24-hour licence after the company failed to call police following an assault there. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

The McDonald's on London Road 'has been stripped of its 24-hour licence after the company failed to call police following an assault there. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

In June 2018, the council’s licensing sub-committee agreed to allow the premises to operate until 5am on a trial basis.

Following the trial, the company came back to the committee to ask for the late licence to continue – but police raised objections to the application and the committee voted to reject the extension.

In a letter to the committee, Police Scotland said the extended hours has “resulted in further disturbance and nuisance to residents” and has “increased demand for police resources”. Officers praised measures introduced by management since April 2017 such as employing security staff that have “greatly reduced the number of calls” to police.

But officers highlighted incidents of crime and disorder that occurred during the trial. On July 16, 2018 a member of the public called the police after he was assaulted in the restaurant at around 3.45am. Sergeant John Young told councillors that police “had no call from the premises whatsoever”.

A 29-year-old man was waiting for his food order when he was approached by another man who punched him in the head “for a sustained period” before hitting them over the head with a glass bottle. No arrests have been made and inquiries are ongoing.

Sergeant Young added: “One of our top priorities within Edinburgh is to deter antisocial behaviour and associated offences, while at the same time keeping the 
public safe when visiting any premises subject to licensing conditions.”

Jonathan Guy, representing McDonald’s, told councillors it hadn’t been reported to police by staff due to “timing” and said that the restaurant is “extremely well run” .

He added: “Over a six-month period, there have been five incidents. There have been no concerns over the number of incidents in the increased hours trial. There have been an additional 50,000 customers, yet there has been no increase of antisocial incidents at the restaurant.”

Licensing convener, Cllr Catherine Fullerton, called for an extension to the late hours licence to be approved.

She said: “I’m of the view that we did ask them that there’s no further incidents in extending the hours and there has not been any increase in that period.”

But councillors voted against renewing the late hours licence.

Cllr Stephanie Smith said: “The fact that an assault occurred inside the restaurant and the police were not notified by the restaurant themselves is very concerning.”

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with this decision and are reviewing our options in moving forward.”