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11 January 2018, 17:04
Three popular bars in Newcastle at the centre of a police investigation into alleged criminal activity have been ordered to stay closed for a month.
The decision was made by Newcastle City Council's licencing committee at a hearing on Thursday.
The three city-centre venues - Madame Koo, Florita's and House of Smith - were originally issued with closure notices by Northumbria Police on 18 December 2017.
It resulted in the venues remaining closed over Christmas and New Year, one of the busiest times for trading.
It was the conclusion of an under cover police operation that led to officers raising concerns over the suspected supply of Class A drugs on the premises.
21 people have been arrested, all of whom are currently released under investigation.
The venues' owners, The Apartment Group say;
"We are very disappointed with the Council's decision, especially as we have worked closely with the police who are fully satisfied with the actions we have taken and have no issue with us continuing to trade.
We will be robustly appealing the decision and the premises will continue to remain open.
The three members of our street sales team involved in the investigation were immediately dismissed and all of our policies and procedures have been enhanced to ensure that issues of this nature do not occur again.
We look forward to continuing to run our bars and clubs to the high standards for which we are renowned."
The decision comes days after a fourth bar - The Empress - was also ordered to stay closed for a month.