a/c/t Mail :
Recorder John Hardy QC told Ali his offence was at the top end of the scale, despite the fact his ineptitude had thankfully meant it was doomed to failure.
He said: 'On that day, for whatever reason, you became embroiled in a planned and calculated attack which was part of a campaign of violence and intimidation by the local drug lords in Crawley against the licensees of this pub.'
I know Crawley has quite a considerable Asian population, and I'd hazard a guess that the people who hired Ali come from the same community. Is this a case of heroic landlord keeping the dealers out and being attacked for it, is it a turf war or what ? I'm afraid I'm hopelessly out of touch with the Crawley drugs scene, not to mention the bewildering ethnic patchwork of a town that 40 years ago was almost a byword for boring English respectability.
It was firebombed again last month with little damage. It's a modern (1978) pub on a modern shopping parade (described as 'run-down') on a modern estate. I get the impression there's a lot of social housing and some of the usual issues associated therewith (you're unusually mealy-mouthed tonight, Laban).
The Knowhere Guide is instructive - the Imperial seems to be, at least by comparison, not a bad place to drink in - and I get the impression from a local blogger that the landlord and customers are OK, despite the pub apparently having a 'bad press'.
"If you want a good night out and your staying quit far from the town centre, you can go and visit The Imperial (at the broadfield shops) It is a good place to chat and drink away together with the good old broadfield people. As many people know broadfield is quit voilent, but visiting The Imperial does not get you involved, because most of the trouble-makers are under age and are not allowed in the pub (so they just stand on the street having noting else to do, but causing trouble) The people working in the Imperial and visiting the pub always look after everyone in the pub. They accept you for who you are and where your from."
"the imperial has a bad reputation but it is a lovely place in the summer, where people from all ethnic backgrounds get together. "