A notorius Athlone shebeen has been forfeited to the state and the owner will soon be served with an eviction order in a landmark case for the Athlone Police.
According to Captain Roland Gabriels of the Athlone Police's Firearms and Liquor Unit, they have been investigating the premises at 5 Rose Street in Kewtown, also known as Anton's Place, for more than seven years.
"We have been conducting raids, serving warnings and even consulted with the owner from as early as 1999, asking him to stop trading liquor on the premises," says Captain Gabriels.
He says the success of this case is largely due to the input of individuals in the community as well as welfare organisations who wrote letters to the police requesting that Anton's Place stop trading in liquor.
"This premises is in close proximity to a day hospital, schools and other community organisations who actively spoke out against the activities on the premises," says Captain Gabriels.
Although the shebeen was known for trading in liquor, it is alleged that the owner is related to some well-known Americans gangsters.
According to Captain Gabriels, this is the first time in his 12 years of working at Athlone Police that an eviction order has been served on a shebeen owner in the Athlone area.
"It took lots of time to compile all the information and follow through with investigations," he says."
After the state has served its eviction order, the owner will have to leave the premises and all items documented in the eviction order will also be seized.
Captain Gabriels has called on the community to continue assisting the police with clamping down on drug houses and shebeens.
"I would advise anybody who knows of a place like this to draw up a petition and sign affidavits, which they should submit to the police. This is of great help to us because we attach the petitions and letters to our application for the premises to be seized by the state," Captain Gabriels says.
In a separate success story for the Athlone Police, the tenants at 13 Beverly Street have been served with an eviction order and will be removed from the premises by the end of the month.
This comes after the owner of the premises applied for the eviction order after discovering that his tenants were dealing in drugs from the house (Athlone Police to crack down on drug houses
," People's Post, 31 October).
Superintendent Edward Norman says the police are "seriously dealing" with various shebeens and drug houses identified as problem areas at meetings held in the community recently.