Pubs and clubs in North East Lincolnshire back police drug operation
LICENSEES have backed a large-scale police operation to rid pubs and clubs in North East Lincolnshire of drugs, saying they already take a zero-tolerance approach to illegal substances.
A total of seven venues in North East Lincolnshire were visited by officers from Humberside Police in an operation codenamed Ferret.
Revellers and landlords welcomed the operation, which took place on Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning.
Shortly before 10.30pm on Saturday, a fleet of police vans swooped on Grimsby town centre following reports of a party where drugs were being used and under-age teens were drinking alcohol.
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Humberside Police licensing officer Ken Stone said the operator of the venue in question had cancelled the party on advice from police.
Stephen Hornsey, licensee of The Bank, which was one of the venues officers visited, said: "I am happy with this operation.
"It does have the effect of emptying the place, but in the long run it is good for the trade because it lets people know our venue is safe and there are no drugs here.
"We carry out random searches ourselves anyway."
More than 30 police officers then headed to venues in Cleethorpes as part of the operation.
Licensee of Bootlegger and member of Pubwatch, Stephanie Parnham, said: "I am very happy for this to take place. We want to discourage drug taking.
"Unfortunately, from time to time there are people who will take them and they will hide them in places we cannot see.
"But we watch their behaviour and should there be any traces of drugs or suspicious activity we will search them.
"We do everything in our power to detect drugs and the doormen and staff are trained on what to look out for and we have CCTV monitoring the place which I check when I can."
She added: "We do catch people and when we do we bring the police in. We want to make Cleethorpes an attractive place for people to come and enjoy themselves."
Leading Operation Ferret, Inspector Scott Snowden, said: "The Staff at Bootlegger are very helpful. The door staff are well trained. I have known them for a number of years and it is well run – that is what makes the difference at a place."
Inspector Snowden said the majority of licensees were co-operative, including Yaz Abu-Hassan, general manager of Hype nightclub.
Mr Abu-Hassan said: "The operation is a good idea. We are dedicated to working with the police and the council. Random drug searches are always in operation.
"Drug taking in the entire nightclub industry is to be expected and it is the responsibility of licence holders to prevent it and work alongside the police. I go to Pubwatch meetings and adhere to the policies."
Reveller Rebecca Cleator, 20, of Cleethorpes, said: "I enjoy a night out here. It is safe and an operation like this only helps make it safer. But the youth of today can sometimes put you off."
Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said: "If they did not have these operations I would be scared to go out.
"But when police do this it sometimes aggravates the situation."