Police's dry run to Raven's Ait as licensing inspection clashes with Muslim wedding (From Surrey Comet)
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Police's dry run to Raven's Ait as licensing inspection clashes with Muslim wedding
Police made an unexpected visit to Kingston’s iconic Raven’s Ait island for an unannounced licensing inspection – during a dry Muslim wedding.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s marine unit travelled all the way from Wapping to pick up officers from Kingston licensing team for the surprise trip, after receiving an application to review the island’s licence.
But officers found little except a Muslim wedding in full swing, and left shortly afterwards.
Ossie Stewart, who sold Raven’s Ait to Middle East businessman Marshall Gasper in a seven-figure deal last month but still works for the island as a consultant, said: “It was an unannounced licensing inspection. That was how it was explained to me.
“The stupid thing is, they used the police boat, and four police officers spent the whole day down in Surbiton from Wapping.
“If they wanted to come on to the island they just needed to ask and we would bring them over. Why they spent that much police time on it I don’t know.
“They looked a bit silly.”
A police spokesman said: “On Friday, October 18, at approximately 3.20pm Kingston police licensing team carried out a licensing visit at Raven’s Ait.
"The visit was a result of the police being served a copy of an application to review the licence. There were no offences and no arrests.
“Marine support unit was requested to transport officers on to the island.”
Raven’s Ait is the subject of a review following a complaint by neighbour Philip Doyle, of Portsmouth Road.
Mr Doyle, a prospective Conservative candidate for Grove ward in next year’s local elections, claimed a rising level of noise emitting from the island was becoming a nuisance.
In his submission to Kingston Council, Mr Doyle, said: “In recent months the volume of noise escaping from the island when a function is taking place has become very noticeable, and is so loud as to be clearly audible in my home.
“I know from contact with neighbours they experience similar noise nuisance from Raven’s Ait.”
Mr Stewart’s company Stewart Marine Raven’s Ait was sold after Mr Gaspar in a seven-figure deal earlier after he made a “very generous offer” to the Olympic sailing medallist.
Mr Gaspar wants to build a small hotel on the island, Mr Stewart has said.
The police marine unit raided Raven's Ait in an early morning swoop in May 2009 to evict squatters who had sailed on to the island and refused to leave.
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