Greggs gears up for legal battle to serve late night sausage rolls as police claim 24-hour bacon baps will worsen crime

18 April 2023, 17:06 | Updated: 18 April 2023, 17:08

Greggs is in a bun fight over late night food
Greggs is in a bun fight over late night food. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Greggs is gearing up for a legal battle over late night sausage rolls as it prepares to appeal a ban on selling treats after 11pm.

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The popular bakery was told it could not sell hot food 24 hours a day as police feared an all-day Greggs could lead to crime and disorder.

A court hearing has been scheduled for May 16 and is due to last three days, though the business is talking to Westminster Council about the standoff.

The bakery caused a buzz last year when it announced it would roll out the blue carpet in a premiere-style opening, playing on the West End's reputation for theatre and film.

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But it clashed with the Met in July, with PC Adam Deweltz writing to Westminster's licensing committee saying the force believes a late night licence will add to "crime and disorder".

"The Metropolitan Police, as a responsible authority, is making a representation against this application," he said.

"It is our belief that if granted, the application could undermine the licensing objectives in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder.

Greggs' wants to be able to sell its hot products at all hours in Leicester Square
Greggs' wants to be able to sell its hot products at all hours in Leicester Square. Picture: Alamy

"The hours [Greggs] seek are also beyond that of Westminster's core hours policy."

While shops do not need a licence to sell pastries, because they are not kept hot but instead reheated after being baked elsewhere, they do need permission to sell products like bacon and sausage breakfast rolls, as well as tea and coffee.

Read more: More Primark stores to get Greggs cafes: could your local shop be getting a sausage roll influx?

Greggs had told Westminster Council: "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.

"Customers do not understand licensing laws."

Greggs is famous for treats like sausage rolls
Greggs is famous for treats like sausage rolls. Picture: Alamy

And it said its late night stores in Newcastle do not experience trouble, and it would have security at the bakery.

But Westminster Council refused permission, saying Greggs had not demonstrated "exceptional reasons as to why the application would not have a negative impact on the West End".

It said Greggs would need to convince the court that their "evidence provides exceptional reasons for allowing the premises to operate until 5am, despite being located in a cumulative impact zone".