OFFICIALS at a social club have insisted they run a tight ship after it came underfire following a fight nearby.

The secretary and stewardess of Tindale Crescent Workingmen's Club and Institute, near Bishop Auckland, spoke out three men were convicted of public order offences following the disturbance on January 26.

During the court case, at Newton Aycliffe, the incident was said to have happened near the club and woken children in a house nearby.

Coverage of the case led to online criticism of the club with some people even calling for the premises to be shut.

But Alan Bramhald, secretary of the club for 46 years, said the incident had nothing to do with the club and was actually 50m away in Boddy Street and after closing time.

He said: "If it had been within the club's perimeters they would have been up before the committee on charges, it wasn't anything to do with the club so is completely unfair to blame us.

"We'd always cooperate with the police, they came to ask for CCTV but it was so far away we had nothing that could help.

"Security is A1.

"The last incident we had was two years ago, a member was making their mouth go and they got expelled."

He said the club, which has more than 1100 members including 234 life-members, is part of its community and its management committee and staff are passionate about supporting local charities.

Stewardess Suzanne Whittaker-Coglan said: "It is terrible that people called the club when it was nothing to do with us, I would not be running it or letting my own daughter work here unless it was a decent place."