‘Stolen goods’ cafe shut down
19 November 2009
A CAF: that had been taken over by dealers in stolen mobile phones has been shut down.
La Roma in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, had become the hub of a stolen goods trade among north African men.
And when police raided it on November 3, they found a stolen camera and three stolen mobile phones.
It will now be sealed up for three months after Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court imposed a closure order.
Sergeant Rob O’Connor, who leads the area’s Highbury West Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “There are a lot of young Algerian men in the area and a lot of them get pulled into handling stolen goods – some of them can’t get any work, others are asylum seekers and are not allowed to work, while some simply do not want to work.
“The leaseholder was running La Roma with just one other person and he lost control of the premises. People were using it as a place to sell stolen mobile phones and there was a lot of anti-social behaviour inside and outside.
“There was one robbery in which a woman had her bag snatched. The thieves ran into La Roma – and the bag disappeared within 10 seconds.”
Police are talking to the shopkeeper about what measures he could take to allow La Roma to reopen.
Two men, aged 24 and 35, have been arrested and bailed on suspicion of handling stolen goods.
This is not the first police clampdown on the stolen goods trade in Blackstock Road. Back in March 2008, 19 shops, cafés and flats were raided in an attempt to clean up the area.