A Birmingham snooker club has been forced to close its doors after police discovered rooms were being hired out by men to have sex with underage girls.
Officers from West Midlands Police also discovered Big Break Snooker Club, in Digbeth, was being used by drug dealers. There had also been countless reports of robberies and thefts of customers who were visiting the venue.
Police consulted with Birmingham City Council to compile a damning portfolio of evidence to ensure the management duo, who are brothers-in-law, were temporarily removed.
The evidence was presented to the courts and police took possession of the property’s keys.
As a result of the inquiry, Qumar Zaman and Hissam Khaliq, the managers of Big Break, voluntarily closed the club at the end of March and began a round of improvement works aimed at making the club useable − including functioning fire exits and internal decoration.
But despite their efforts, the closure order was still granted for the maximum term of three months after the court heard that the pair had done nothing to deter criminals from using the club for their illegal activities.
Inspector Will O’Connor, from Birmingham Police, who led the investigation, said: “As our enquiries into the manner of Big Break’s operation uncovered more and more information, it became clear that the club was being used for criminal activity of various sorts.
“We discovered evidence of rooms being used by drug dealers operating in the city, as well as by men involved in illegal sexual activity with underage girls.
“The use of cannabis proved to be widespread and open inside the club and further analysis of recorded crime found there to be a number of robberies and thefts from people inside and in the close locality to the premises, on Coventry Street.
“When our officers visited at the end of March they found several known offenders for robbery type-offences hanging around the entrance, bags containing heroin and crack cocaine on a sofa in one of the rooms, used condoms, a lock knife and a hammer lying around, a strong smell of cannabis, as well as safety issues around obstructed fire exits, a faulty fire control panel and cigarette butts in ashtrays all around the premises.
“Other enquiries showed a pattern of young women or girls entering the club with older men.
“Information we uncovered suggests the girls had gone on to spend time in private rooms with the men where they were exposed to alcohol and drugs and groomed for sexual activity.”
Any person who attempts to enter the property for the three months it’s sealed will automatically be guilty of an offence and brought before the courts.
During the hearing, at Birmingham Magistrates Court, evidence was heard, describing the club as housing 16 separate rooms, eight of which contained snooker tables in an unplayable condition − the rest of the rooms were rented out as private spaces for hire from as little as £5 per hour.