Drunk teenagers too much to bear (+poll)

By Joseph Aldridge

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After six years of doing the night-time trade for the punters who spill out of the nearby pubs and clubs, Cafe on the Strand owner Malcolm George has had enough.

Up until this year, the financial rewards of staying open late had outweighed the burdens of long nights and drunk customers, but customer numbers and revenue levels have taken a tumble this year.

And the closure of several nearby establishments - the Grumpy Mole Saloon, Empire Nightclub and Route 67 - has also had a knock-on effect on his business.

Mr George said: "Financially, from Christmas, the turnover has dropped dramatically. We've got these clubs that used to be packed and now they're not."

Thursday nights, once one of the biggest nights of the week, were slower now than during the middle of winter.

"Even on a Saturday night our turnover has dropped down 30 to 40 per cent."

Although falling revenues were part of his decision to close night-time operations, falling standards of behaviour among early-morning patrons was another aspect.

"It's financial and it's me at my wits end with it.

"They're just arrogant, rude, disgusting teenagers, to put it bluntly."

Cafe on the Strand will remain open from 6am to 4pm on weekdays and from 7am to 2pm on weekends, but will no longer be open on weekend evenings.

Mr George worked his last late night shift on Saturday.

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