A CONTROVERSIAL lap dancing club had its drinks licence revoked today (Thursday, January 10) following a drug raid by police last month.

Owners of Red Velvet, in Consett - County Durham's only lap dancing club - can continue trading for three weeks, which could be extended if the ruling is appealed.

Councillors on Durham County Council’s statutory licensing sub committee made the ruling following a six-hour hearing at Chester-le-Street Civic Centre.

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The club’s legal representative, Harpal Samra, said no decision about an appeal, which would be heard before magistrates, had been made.

“We are going to consider all avenues," he added.

Sergeant Tim Robson, Durham Constabulary’s licensing officer, said a meeting to review the venue’s sexual entertainment licence, was expected to be held at the Civic Centre in Chester-le-Street on January 22.

Seven people were arrested after the raid in the early hours of Saturday, December 15, following allegations that cocaine was being dealt at the Front Street nightspot.

Two of those taken by police were released on bail pending further inquiries, while two others were released after being cautioned for possession of class A drugs.

No further action was taken against the remaining three.

Owner Sonny Gill told councillors he was overhauling procedures and each of his five premises in the town with new doormen from Newcastle-based Phoenix Security, who will wear body cameras to record footage and sound of any incidents.

He has applied to become the designated premises supervisor personally, having sacked the club's manager.

He said: “I have obviously taken my eye off the ball for the last year, year and a half. It looks like I have made some wrong choices. I do not want that to happen ever again.

“It should not have happened in the first place.”

Durham Constabulary held a secret meeting during the proceedings with councillors to inform them of the ongoing investigation into suspected drug dealing in the town.

Despite assurances of changes in the running of the club, committee chairman Colin Carr said its drinks licence would be revoked.

He added: “We have heard nothing which has been able to allay our concerns.”