A Consett lap dancing club was closed and had its licence suspended following an intelligence led raid by police in the early hours of Saturday 15th December.

Acting on ‘community intelligence’, officers raided County Durham’s only lap dancing club while dancers were still performing and made several arrests, including the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), two dancers, and the ‘House Mother’ (who manages the other dancers) from whom they seized 12 bags of cocaine.

Several bags which are suspected of having contained cocaine were also found in the dressing room.

The owner of the club, Sonny Gill, who also operates several other premises in Consett, has suspended the DPS, David Bartley and barred the two self employed dancers who were arrested.

Durham Constabulary’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit called for an emergency licensing hearing to be held on Tuesday 18th December, at which the club’s licence was suspended pending a full review hearing this month when the future of Red Velvet will be decided.

The hearing, which was held in Chester-le-Street, heard that dancers and the House Mother, Dolce Byron, were seen selling cocaine to customers in the club and that they acted as a drug dealing group.

Sarah Smith, acting for Mr Gill, told the hearing of his exemplary track record and highlighted that Red Velvet had been awarded as a responsible premises as runner up in the Best Bar None awards.

Mr Bartley and Ms Byron have been bailed pending further enquiries and the two dancers have been released with a caution.

A full licensing review is scheduled for 15th January.

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