Garlands nightclub: Liverpool drug raid venue reopens

Drug poster
Image caption The club management says it welcomes the stricter conditions imposed by the licensing committee

A Liverpool nightclub closed down after police described its toilets as "a sweet shop for drugs" is reopening following a three-month closure order.

Officers raided Garlands on 12 February while 200 people were inside. Drugs were found on the premises and it was shut down.

The council had ruled the club could reopen provided it followed new strict conditions, which have been met.

These included new door staff and security and a new drugs policy.

More than 2,500 people had signed an online petition calling for the club to be saved.

Garlands co-owner John Cummings said: "In society today, people use drugs. You have to do your best to stop them taking drugs in your premises.

"I wasn't surprised they found drugs because you'd probably find them in most places. But I'm glad now we have got these new conditions to enable us to try and stop them as much as we can."

Image caption About 140 officers took part in the raid, which resulted in the seizure of large quantities of controlled drugs

Liverpool City Council's licensing committee had allowed the club to reopen, but with certain conditions that included:

  • Changing the firm that operates security on the doors, and upgrading CCTV
  • Staffing the toilets with security staff at all times and considering changes to the layout of the unisex toilets
  • Implementing a new drugs policy, which will be reviewed quarterly and agreed with police
Image caption Clubbers showed their support for Garlands at Liverpool Town Hall

The club has changed the security firm, upgraded CCTV provided a drugs amnesty box and introduced ID scans on the door.

UV lights have been installed at the entrance of the unisex toilets, which police had described earlier as a "sweet shop for drugs".

The toilets have also been separated into single-sex toilets.

Christine Banks, chair of the licensing committee said: "Don't come back to the table with any of those conditions broken because we won't be lenient.

"They are there for the protection of the public from harm. We're here to say no not acceptable and your licence could be revoked."

Image caption Security and CCTV has been upgraded to provide a safe drug-free environment for revellers

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