Cuban complaint flags up police time and resource inefficiencies

FIGURES that revealed police forces are routinely failing to investigate up to half of reported crimes again thrust Hyde’s only Cuban restaurant into the national news.

Maria Oliver with the flag which was at the centre of the controversy

It was spotlighted as a classic example of a waste of police time and resources after officers received a complaint in December over a Cuban flag featuring revolutionary Che Guevara that could be seen flying at El Cuba Libre.

Geoff Oliver, who runs the restaurant with his Cuban wife Maria above The Sportsman on Mottram Road, was taken aback when he received a visit from police.

They notified Geoff and Maria they had received a complaint and advised the flag not be displayed in public view from the street as it may upset people, though there was no issue displaying it inside.

Geoff said: “I have flown the flag for the best part of 20 years at the two Cuban restaurants I have run without any previous complaints.

“I can understand police having to investigate a complaint made to them, but this is ridiculous. People ought to get a history lesson.”

Geoff contacted the Daily Mail to “expose the stupidity” though he sympathised with police having to investigate such matters.

“I am not blaming them but it was a waste of police time when they have lost numbers because of Government policies,” he explained.

The Cuban flag can still be seen from Mottram Road while others are displayed inside the restaurant.

“Our customers have been supportive and they all think it is ridiculous,” explained Geoff.

Geoff added there is no such thing as bad publicity and the flag furore has had a “small effect on business, but in a positive way”.

The restaurant, which serves Cuban tapas is unique locally and Geoff says there are only two or three of that type nationally.

“We get customers from Sheffield, North Wales and Liverpool while there is a Cuban community in Manchester, though not many in Tameside,” he said.

Geoff and Maria used to have a Cuban restaurant in Mottram above the White Hart which is now closed. They have been at The Sportsman since 2010.

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