Police and traders meeting called to deal with ‘Wild West’ Thursday nights in Ramsgate

Karen Constantine and Mark Kenneally in Harbour Street Photo Dave Stillman

Smashed windows, abuse and the fall-out of people bingeing on cheap drinks for ‘Thirsty Thursday’ will be discussed at a meeting between businesses and police this month.

Organised by County Councillor Karen Constantine, the aim of the gathering at Zest cafe on January 23 is to crackdown on vandalism and violence in Ramsgate’s Harbour Street and lower town centre.

Business owners who have had to fork out due to constant damage want more police patrols, especially Thursday nights into Friday mornings, a change in licensing to ban  £1 a drink booze ups and are asking pubs to use their security staff to make sure streets are cleared of revellers when they lock up.

Meetings held in 2017 to discuss similar issues resulted in action including 48 hour dispersal orders and patrols targeting ‘hotspots.’. But traders say trouble is now worse than ever, despite the area being covered by a Public Spaces Protection Order giving police and enforcement officers extra powers.

Mark Kenneally is joint owner, with aunt Julie Young, of The Daily Grind in Harbour Street. His partner Lauren Ryan is manager.

In their first seven weeks in charge of the café they had their windows smashed twice.

Mark Kenneally says cheap drinks on a Thursday night are the cause of many problems in the town

Mark, 35, said: “It can be scary out there sometimes and I can look after myself. The police need to deal with this. We need more officers and we need to stop £1 drinks. Everywhere else- London, Newcastle – has stopped this but not Ramsgate. People even come down from London for a £29 hotel room and the cheap drinks

“The police need to target this area and clean it up. The damage costs money and for businesses here that is a big blow. It makes me angry that we are working hard but just not getting any help.”

Cllr Constantine said: “We are back to square one with no progress. We need a proper plan of action and I want police to listen to residents and businesses. Pubs could close the doors earlier and make security responsible for dispersal. We need regular meetings and more policing.

“I have been told by a DCI that Thanet has a maximum of 19 officers across Thanet and that includes those at the station, which means it is not even 19 pairs of boots on the ground. We need action, Ramsgate is getting like the wild west.”

Sergeant Steve Moat, from the Thanet Community Safety Unit, said: ‘Kent Police is committed to reducing anti-social behaviour in Ramsgate and regularly speaks to businesses and residents to hear their concerns and carry out proportionate enforcement action.

‘A Public Space Protection Order has been put in place which covers the Central Harbour and Eastcliff wards – which includes Harbour Street – and this allows us extra powers to deal with issues that may arise, including issuing £80 fixed penalty notices.

‘Officers also carry out regular checks at licensed premises to ensure licensing conditions are being met.”

Report incidents via 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress or online at the Kent Police website.

Traders views

Jim Brady, from Heaven and Hell gifts in Harbour Street, says blood outside his store is a regular occurrence as well as finding his shop windows smashed.

He said: “We see the PCSO but the officer is probably only here once a month. Pubs need to take some responsibility and police need to be here and monitor what happens,

“I’ve seen one lad with two people kicking him in the head and nothing happens because police say it isn’t reported or they don’t have a victim.

“We have empty shops, shops with boarded up windows and even the takeaway has a security guard now.”

Ramsgate couple Tyler Turner and Chris Clemson have been running Zest in Queen Street since September. They have suffered broken windows, had abuse hurled at them and their customers and say the behaviour of some youths also causes problems.

Tyler, 23, has been in the hospitality trade since she was 15. She said: “Some places need to be stricter on serving people who are already drunk, they need to say enough is enough. I don’t think £1 drinks are responsible drinking and perhaps places could close a bit earlier. We also need a bigger police presence and they need more funding.”

Pubs taking action

Thorley Taverns Ltd is just one of several operators in the Ramsgate town area. The company does not run a ‘Thirsty Thursday’ promotion. It does have a student offer of seven products at a set price for the duration of the evening which is aimed at cost savings for the customer but also limits the number of drinks per customer.

Operations manager Craig Knight said all pubs run by the company work closely with police and local authorities to prevent anti-social behaviour on the streets around those businesses.

He said: “We take responsible drinking very seriously and do not offer any promotions or ‘deals’ that even come close to us breaching the conditions of our premises licence.  We have been liaising with Kent Police closely over the past few years to assist them in reducing the levels of anti-social behaviour.
“We encourage responsible drinking in all of our venues. Any promotions that we run adhere to the mandatory conditions of our licence in that they do not encourage the drinking of alcohol within a time limit, we do not offer alcohol for free and our marketing does not glamorise alcohol consumption.”

Mr Knight said certain venues have security staff who stay on site at least an hour after closing to ensure customers have dispersed and incidents of antisocial behaviour re reported to police or the CCTV control room.

Thorley Taverns is not the only pub operator in the town but as the biggest kindly agreed to share their insight with The Isle of Thanet News.


  1. Under the last Labour government, there were 20,000 MORE Police Officers than today. But the Tories accused Labour of spending too much public money and got elected. This is the result.
    But I bet there are hundreds of voters in Thanet who think that the Tories are the best “Law and Order” Party! Go figure!

    • There are tons of police in Manchester & Newcastle where you see the drunks starting fights, puking everywhere etc-the problem is the UK drinking culture-which wastes so much police time, NHS staff time & causes issues for the general public.

    • Absolutely. People don’t seem to realise it was May who cut the poli e force when she was Home Secretary.
      How to the Tories get voted for in Thanet? Just don’t u derstand it.

  2. The pubs/clubs should foot the bills for the damage caused, the clean-ups, police time wasted etc-they promote binge drinking to put money in their tills with none of the responsibility for the problems that causes. Would soon see those drink all you can in an hour stupidity nights cease if they were having to fork out.

  3. Well, there are two pubs nearby where all the night time action takes place, one advertising cheap drinks being The Royal https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Beer-Bar/Royal-Ramsgate-513095028868508/ which has different prices on same drinks depending on time. The answer is to make these hostelries accountable for their customers behaviour and charge them accordingly. The Police service are not security guards paid for by these establishments to stop fighting and criminal damage in the street caused by their customers. If you want to have drinking dens open to the early hours serving cheap booze then you need to make sure you look after your customers and see they behave appropriately inside and outside your premises. You need to sort out and help your neighbouring businesses if anything goes wrong because of your business too, not shrug your shoulders and deny it has anything to do with you. If the law can work in other areas then it should work in Thanet. The council licensing officer can and should revoke licenses of problem premises, not just the manager or licensee on duty at the time! It is failing in Ramsgate.

    • The Royal is a Thorley Taverns pub according to records, and in the story above they deny having these type of time limited offers! Yet their facebook page advertises spirits £1.00 9.00 pm til 2.00 am every Thursday !!! So it does make sense that serving these offers there is causing problems to local residents and other businesses like previously reported. TDC, get it sorted!

      • It is like the bookies saying they support gambling warnings & expecting them to self regulate. It is all PR & being seen to do the right thing while doing the opposite.

  4. This vandalism and other anti social behaviour is down to the lack of police and the licensing committee who are allowing the premises to stay open so late and run these get-drunk-on-the-cheap nights and the police who know where the trouble is most like to be.

  5. Lack of police is a big part of this. PSPO isn’t the answer, we need properly trained police, and a decent number of them. Some responsibility on the part of certain pubs would also be welcome.

  6. It’s ironic that the Ravensgate Arms, home to the most well behaved customers in Ramsgate, was closed for months, as a result of a minor license infringement, at the behest of the police, whereas the pubs that are contributing to this problem by selling cheap booze to people who are often already drunk are getting off Scot free.

  7. The police shut down another pub in town because of 2 violations. They quoted the licensing objectives in their report. That is:

    the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; the protection of children from harm.

    Some. bars on the sea front are in complete violation of all of those. Shut them down.

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