Rainbow Venues have 21 days to appeal against the decision
Yesterday (28 November) saw the licensing sub-committee of Birmingham City Council voting to revoke the licence of the city's famous Rainbow Venues in Digbeth, after a second drug-related death linked to the club in two years. The decision means the Rainbow Venues will have to close with immediate effect; the owners will then have 21 days to appeal against the decision before the closure becomes permanent.
As the Birmingham Mail reports, the move follows the death of 19-year-old student Michael Trueman after consuming MDMA at a Halloween party at the venue. An 18-year-old, Dylan Booth, had previously died after taking MDMA at the club in 2015. Following Booth's death more stringent security measures had been put in place, including the use of sniffer dogs, which West Midlands Police acknowledged at yesterday's hearing - but said were not sufficient.
"The most stringent measures are in place, yet drugs are still being consumed inside the venue," said PC Abdool Rohomon. "We have no option but to call for Rainbow's licence to be revoked." He added that of 3,000 licensed premises in Birmingham, the Rainbow Venues was the only one where drug deaths had occurred.
West Midlands Police also said they have evidence of a 15-year-old boy being allowed into the club, though Rainbow Venues' solicitor Matthew Phipps denied this allegation. He also stressed the lengths the club had gone to to prevent drugs entering the premises, saying: "We have the most stringent measures in place including CCTV, sniffer dogs and searches in the queue and random searches inside and we propose to increase this even further by installing CCTV inside the toilets as this has been seen as a problem. However, some customers do use the most extreme measures to smuggle drugs, including putting pills in car keys and also intimate places in their body. We simply can’t guarantee that no drugs will ever get through, but our measures will be the tightest it can be."
Representing the licensing committee, Cllr Alex Buchanan said: "We have a duty to protect public safety. There has been two deaths in less than two years. The most stringent measures in the city have been introduced at the club but only last month there was another death through drugs. The committee has no option but to revoke Rainbow club’s licence."