PLANS for a chain of lap dancing clubs throughout the North-East will take a step forward this week with the opening of a new club on Teesside.

Business partners Chris Neil and Ernie Bennett already own and run the Angels lap-dancing club, in Stockton.

On Friday night, they will open the second Angels club in the former Club Eden, in Redcar High Street, at a cost of about £100,000.

The east Cleveland town was chosen because of the availability of premises and, according to Mr Neil, because "it would be a good area for such an outlet".

The pair's ambition is to own and run about a dozen clubs at locations throughout Teesside and County Durham.

Mr Neil said the club would be open from 8pm to 2am and would have dancers on stage all night while drinks were served.

Between 15 and 20 dancers will be offering dances at a table or in a private cubicle at an extra cost.

Mr Neil was keen to stress that the girls' safety was a priority - which was why security guards had been employed and security TV cameras installed.

He said there were a lot of misconceptions about lap dancing clubs, which he believed were increasing in popularity throughout the country.

He said: "People think they are seedy and dingy. The reality is, it is just a different type of entertainment.

"We have consulted fully with the police, who know us because of our outlet in Stockton. Most of the people we have talked to in the Redcar area think it is a great idea.

"We did have a bit of adverse reaction when we opened in Stockton, but the people there have been pleasantly surprised."