BAILIFFS have been called in to take possession of a Blackburn town centre restaurant.

Roberto’s Bar & Grill on Sudell Cross has been closed ever since owner John Rowe was arrested in the summer of last year on an alleged drug dealing rap.

And now a notice has appeared in the door of the business confirming that BW SIPP Trustees Ltd have been brought in to take back control of the premises.

The notice reads: “From BW SIPP Trustees Limited of Saint James’ House, St James’ Square, Cheltenham, (The Landlord).

“Premises: The ground floor of the premises known as the former Rice and Curry Restaurant, Richmond Terrace, Blackburn.

“Lease: A lease of the premises dated 19th February 2020 made between BW SIPP Trustees Limited and Richmond Hospitality Ltd.

“The landlord has today re-entered the premises in accordance with the provisions of clause 38 of the lease and has changed the locks on the premises.

“From today’s date the lease has been forfeited and come to an end.”

The venue had a controversial history with council officials closing it down for a spell in August 2020 amid claims of Covid restrictions being flaunted.

Checks on Companies House have revealed an application was made for the company behind Roberto's to be struck off and for the business to be dissolved in 2021. But the order was halted when paperwork was received by a representative for Roberto’s in December.

The restaurant’s Facebook page has been removed and the Google homepage suggests the business is ‘permanently shut’.

On April 15, 2021, the Lancashire Telegraph revealed local businessman John Rowe, who owned Roberto’s, had been arrested and charged with alleged conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis throughout the north west.

He appeared at the town’s magistrates’ court later that month and his case was sent to the crown court, where it is yet to be heard.

Rowe’s arrest came after a warrant was executed at an address on Lynthorpe Road in June 2020.