A Newcastle bar has been denied permission to sell more cheap shots, amid police fears that the “bargain” offer would lead students to drink more.

Bosses at city centre club Bijoux appeared before councillors last month in a bid to expand its offer of lower-alcohol £3 trebles.

The Mosley Street venue was the first in Newcastle to start selling 20% ABV shots, half the strength of the usual 40% and also sold at half the price, but can only do so on its ground floor under the terms of its licence.

While the bar’s representatives insisted that the offer is “in no way an irresponsible promotion” and that it in fact cuts levels of drunkenness, city authorities opposed the plans to extend the sale of the cheaper shots across Bijoux’s upper floors.

After the hearing in September, Newcastle City Council’s licensing sub-committee has rejected the bar’s proposals.

Northumbria Police had warned that the cut-price shots, despite their lower alcohol content, would encourage people to drink more than they otherwise would and make Bijoux a place where students  “fuel themselves” with cheap alcohol.

Sgt Julie Cottiss argued: “It will attract students and it could lead to a situation where students buy more drinks than they otherwise would because they feel that they are getting a bargain. It is the same as when you go to a supermarket and it’s buy one get one free – you buy things you don’t necessarily need because you think you are getting a bargain.”

She added: “I believe more drinks will be purchased and that will lead a patron to consume more alcohol than they would have originally because they are buying it at a cheaper and more attractive price.”

Council environmental health expert Angela Wallis also raised concerns that “a customer could consume more alcohol, faster, over a shorter duration of time”, thereby creating an “inaccurate idea of their consumption”.

Solicitor Christopher Rees-Gay, representing Bijoux, said that the idea behind the plans was to make Bijoux an entirely student-focused bar – and move away from its ‘Millionaires’ Weekend’ operation on Saturdays.

He claimed that the police and council objections were “based on what may happen rather than being based on any actual evidence” and that extending the £3 trebles offer would make customers stay in Bijoux for longer, therefore reducing the number of people moving between different bars around the Diamond Strip.

In its decision notice, the committee said its members were “not satisfied that the applicant had demonstrated that there are exceptional circumstances; and that the application, if granted will not add to the negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives”.