A SOUTHAMPTON restaurant that has been forced to close after breaching Covid-19 rules had held a "private party" just a few weeks ago.

Iroko Lounge, on Onslow Road has had its licence temporarily pulled after Hampshire Constabulary were concerned the venue was operating against government regulations and contrary to licensing and planning conditions.

Now, speaking to the Echo, the restaurant manager - who did not wish to be named, said a private party was held at the venue “a couple of weeks ago”.

He said only people on the guest list were set to be allowed in.

But he added: “The doorman left and more people came in. The doorman ran away. Suddenly more people started coming in. Other people who were not on the guest list came in."

The exact number of people at the venue has not been confirmed.

As reported, the city council has now agreed to suspend the licence of the eatery pending the outcome of a full summary review which is due to be held on September 23.

Police Constable Brian Swallow from the Licensing and Alcohol Harm Reduction Team, said: “This was a serious breach of licensing regulations and as such we recommended that the premises licence be suspended with immediate effect, to ensure public safety. 

“It is vitally important that licensed premises abide by the regulations that are in place to protect people from crime and disorder, public nuisance and the potential public health implications of such gatherings during the current pandemic.”