Greggs clashes with Met Police over late night sausage rolls

Police and local councillors believe 24 hour Greggs will add to ‘crime and disorder’ in the West End

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

Greggs clashes with Met Police over late night sausage rolls

No sooner has Greggs thrown open the doors to its flagship in Leicester Square, the nation’s favourite bakery chain has found itself embroiled in a row with the Metropolitan Police. The West End store wants permission from the council to sling sausage rolls, steak bakes and the like 24 hours a day, but both police and Westminster councillors have contested the plans, believing that a 24 hour Greggs will contribute to crime and disorder in the city centre.

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PC Adam Deweltz, in a letter to the town hall licensing committee, said: ‘The Metropolitan Police, as a responsible authority, is making a representation against this application.

‘It is our belief that if granted, the application could undermine the licensing objectives in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder. The hours [Greggs] seek are also beyond that of Westminster’s core hours policy.’

Greggs, for its part, already has two late night stores in Newcastle, which it claims run without incident.

The licensing specifically relates to food that is cooked in store. Most Gregg’s products are made at industrial bakeries then transported into stores, where they are kept warm; stores don’t need a licence to sell these items, but they do need a licence to sell other cooked items, such as breakfast rolls, after 11pm.

Greggs hit back at the Metropolitan police claims, arguing that customers could be confused, and it would be more likely to cause trouble if it couldn’t offer its full menu because of licensing laws.

In its submission to Westminster’s Licensing Committee, the company said: “One of the concerns Greggs has is that if they are unable to offer their full range and a customer wants, for example, a coffee with their sandwich or doughnut, or some potato wedges, they may become more confused and argumentative or disruptive in store if they are able to access the full range of goods before 11pm but are unable to do so after 11pm.’

As for local residents, many have also complained about the plans. One said in a statement to Westminster Council: ‘I believe that this will encourage intoxicated patrons of this retailer lingering in the vicinity late at night and potentially causing a public nuisance. The plan does not allow any seating areas for customers to consume their purchases. It is essentially a sausage roll factory ‘plonked’ in the middle of the West End.’

With the Met Police, councillors and residents putting up a united front, it looks like this may be a troublesome battle for the bakery empire. 

If you're interested in the fancier end of baking, check out our pick of London's best bakeries