A flagship pay-as-you-feel café in Leeds has been led to close its doors at weekends due to growing problems with drunken violence and anti-social behaviour.
Adam Smith, co-founder of the Armley Junk-tion café, has voiced concerns for the safety of customers, staff and volunteers at the Real Junk Food Project.
In a statement issued on the organisation’s Facebook page, Smith stated that there had been a spate of intoxicated incidents, which included the café’s chef having to bandage a topless man’s bloody hand after a fight on Saturday lunchtime.
He also said that a suspected drug dealer had been operating at the café.
Mr Smith stated that his staff and volunteers have received little external support from the police, third sector organisations and the council, which has forced him to withdraw the café’s services before a more serious incident occurs.
Having opened in December 2013, the Armley Junk-tion spawned an international network of pay-as-you-feel cafés and supermarkets that feed thousands of customers every month, many of whom have limited access to food.
Sergeant Chris Craven, a member of the Leeds Inner West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“Over the last few months we have been working alongside our partner agencies through Safe Leeds and have put a range of measures in place to tackle the issues that were being reported in and around the premises.
“We always take reports of crime and anti-social behaviour seriously and will continue to work with the café owner and our partner agencies to ensure that any issues that do occur are suitably addressed.”