New lease of life for Norwich pub

Ben KendallA Norwich pub forced to close following a high profile drugs raid has been given a new lease of life as new managers work with the police to turn it around.Ben Kendall

A Norwich pub forced to close following a high profile drugs raid has been given a new lease of life as new managers work with the police to turn it around.

Officers have carried out random drug checks at the Fiveways on the corner of Earlham Road and Gipsy Lane and say it is now drug free. They have praised staff for their hard work to establish it as at the heart of the community.

More than 40 officers raided the pub in October last year after they received intelligence that it had become a 'drugs haven' with cocaine being dealt from inside the pub. The former manager has since been cautioned for possession of Class A drugs.

Soon after the raid the pub's owners appointed husband and wife Paul and Pippa Satchwell as landlord and lady. They have worked with the area's safer neighbourhood team which has held regular surgeries during the day to give the public a chance to speak to the police.

Mr Satchwell said: 'The whole community has welcomed us and I think they are pleased to have their pub back. Our aim is to build up a loyal customer base and make a positive contribution to the area around us.

'It is important for people to realise that we are now working with the police to address the problems that existed in the past. Some of our old customers have complained that it is unfair for the police to still be around when we have cleaned the pub up but we've explained to them that this will benefit us all by creating an environment in which people can feel safe.

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'We need to get the message out that we have changed the culture of the pub. People tend to only remember the negatives and when they see the police here they assume nothing's changed. But we are 100pc clean now and the police have confirmed that.

'There are too many community pubs which are going to the wall - we're determined that the Fiveways won't be one of them.'

Mr and Mrs Satchwell have run both city and country pubs all over the country, including premises in London and Plymouth.

Unannounced drugs checks will continue to help officers quickly identify anyone carrying drugs and help police take positive action to prosecute drug dealers in the area. The first check using drugs dogs was carried out a week ago.

Insp Russell Watkins said 'I am pleased to say that there were no signs of any drugs on the premises, staff or customers whilst we were there. This is a positive step towards building a safer establishment for all to enjoy.

'The landlord and customers were very welcoming and commented how pleasing it was to see the police taking such steps to deal with drugs misuse in their community.

'This will be one of many such visits to this pub, and I know that this tactic will be used in pubs across Norwich at any time.'

t Are you take positive action to improve conditions in your community? Contact crime correspondent Ben Kendall on 01603 772423 or email