Veranda owner defends bar and restaurant after shooting in Brixton

Paul Bassey at Veranda
Paul Bassey at Veranda

The owner of a popular Brixton bar has appealed to the council and police to work more closely with him after a shooting at the venue.

A man was allegedly shot in the leg by a mystery gunman at Veranda, in Acre Lane, on October 19.

Police were alerted to the incident, and say that the victim presented himself at Kings College hospital shortly after the shots were heard, suffering from a slashed face and gunshot wounds to his thigh.

A damning report by police into the incident at a licensing meeting the following Wednesday led to the bar and restaurant being shut down by the council, pending a review.

Co-owner Paul Bassey told the Brixton Bugle that he’d been devastated by the incident, and feels his restaurant has been unfairly portrayed.

Mr Bassey said: “The most upsetting thing for me is that we have been here for two and a half years and not had one single incident. But now there has been a gun involved and we’ve been closed down for three weeks.”

Mr Bassey, who is also vice chairman of the Brixton BID partnership, added: “We’ve had customers on the phone asking why we are closed, and they have been reading things about us [in the police reports on the incident], but I want people to know that isn’t how it really is.”

In a report written for Lambeth council’s licensing committee after the incident, police superindent Zander Gibson said: “This is a serious incident where a firearm was taken into Veranda bar and a male was shot, at no point did the venue call police, and the firearm was taken into the venue despite security on the door.”

He added: “I do not have confidence that this venue is managed correctly and there is a high risk of crime and disorder.”

Mr Bassey refutes a number of the claims made by police, like the fact that the police were not called as they were already outside the bar after the shots were fired. But he told The Bugle this week that he wants to work closely with both police and Lambeth council to ensure his venue is kept safe in the future.

The bar and restaurant now faces a review hearing at Lambeth town hall on November 13.

Read the full review application from police here. And additional police evidence here.

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