A massive drugs raid in Harrogate town centre of Friday night saw the closure of a busy night club for several hours.
At around 11.30pm more than 40 police officers raided the Viper Rooms nightclub on Parliament Street, ordering revellers out onto the street while a thorough search of the entire premises was carried out.
Outside the venue Safer Neighbourhood Inspector for Harrogate Town, Insp Bruce Prendergast said: “We are executing a warrant looking for evidence of supply from licensed premises.
“We are testing for drugs and traces of drugs in the public areas and the staff areas.”
One club goer who did not wish to be named said: “We hadn’t been there very long, I had just had one drink when all the lights came on and the police came in and we all had to leave.”
No drugs were found on the premises, although police confirmed that a quantity of small plastic bags were found and traces of cocaine were detected.
Insp Prendergast added: “People have said to me since my appointment in Harrogate that they are concerned about the use of drugs. They are concerned about the misuse of drugs in Harrogate’s night time establishments.
“As a result we have obtained a warrant and acted on that information.
“This is a clear message to the licensing community that if they allow the misuse of drugs at their premises we will take firm action.”
The large scale operation mobilised over 40 officers from across the district and two dog units.
Harrogate Town Centre Sergeant Tom Jackson said the operation was successful.
“There are some lines of enquiry that we are following up on. This is part of an ongoing initiative to keep drugs out of the town’s pubs and clubs”.
He added: “We will respond to any intelligence regarding drug use in the licensing trade in Harrogate.
“We have the manpower to do this and we can gather the manpower to do this again and again if we receive information.”
Rumours circulating on social media of a second raid at a different nightclub on Saturday night have been dismissed as untrue by police.
The Viper Rooms was reopened at around 2am and remained open over the weekend.
Do you have information about drug dealing, drink driving or any other crime?
Call Harrogate Police on 101 or alternatively call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Were you at the Viper Rooms on Friday night? Contact our newsdesk on 01423 707 506 or email Laura.Hill@jpress.co.uk.