Liberton Inn hands over licence after drugs raid

The Liberton Inn. Picture: Callum Bennetts
The Liberton Inn. Picture: Callum Bennetts
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A PUB which was targeted in a drugs raid last year has voluntarily surrendered its licence, police have confirmed.

The Liberton Inn, situated on Kirk Brae, closed several weeks ago and is now unlikely to reopen for the foreseeable future.

The well-known pub was one of 22 premises in Liberton, Gilmerton and Craigmillar targeted by officers in October 2015 as part of the intelligence-led Operation Amyloid.

A 34-year-old man found inside the pub during the raid was arrested on an outstanding warrant, while another drinker, aged 25, was reported to the Procurator Fiscal for drugs possession.

More than 170 officers were involved in the searches on October 30, 2015, and seized £100,000 of heroin, further dealer quantities of the Class A drug and various paraphernalia from a number of properties.

A quarter kilo of cannabis worth £2000 was also recovered from a premises in Niddrie.

During the operation, £10,000 in cash was seized from various addresses while two other business premises were also visited by police and other agencies.

Police confirmed the Liberton Inn’s premises licence had been voluntarily surrendered by the licensee.

Inspector Dianne Bruce, from the Licensing Unit, said: “We can confirm that the licence holder for the Liberton Inn has voluntarily surrendered the licence following an application by Police Scotland to have this premises reviewed by the licensing board.”

The pub, which was owned by Edinburgh businessman Kenneth Waugh until his death in September last year, has been a local trouble hotspot in recent years.

Community leaders said they hoped new owners would come forward to launch a new era for the establishment.

Norma Austin Hart, a councillor for the Liberton and Gilmerton areas, said: “I understand that there have been a lot of problems with this pub for a while, so it is important that whatever comes along next doesn’t present the same problems to the local people as it has done in the past.

“It’s important it brings something positive to the community.”

Councillor Nick Cook added: “Given some of the recent incidents which have been reported with regards to the Liberton Inn, the present closure may indeed be for the best.

“There may in future be a desire from an entirely new operator to come in and re-open the local pub, which of course has potential to be a worthwhile, family-friendly community asset in the right hands.

“I will keep residents abreast of any developments in regards to the premises.”

Other community leaders said there would be few tears shed for the Liberton Inn.

Stewart Sandilands, the secretary of Liberton Community Council, said: “I think we would all be more concerned if it was Gracemount Leisure Centre that was closing down or the facilities at Liberton Kirk.

“Hopefully if it reopens as a public house it will be a properly-ordered and well-run establishment.”