Proof of how hard it is to close down these hell-holes

Lap dance club can open after midnight

A lap dancing club in the Black Country has avoided having its opening hours slashed despite police concerns over a string of violent episodes.

Instead, Angels Gentlemen’s Club in West Bromwich has been ordered to stick to a number of conditions after a hearing by licensing chiefs. The club was hauled before a panel after police said it wanted the club to close at midnight after a number of late-night assaults, including a fight that left one man with a fractured cheekbone and a vicious robbery.

In a separate incident, a member of staff had a baseball bat. But at yesterday’s meeting an agreement was reached to allow the club to remain open until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights provided bosses stick to stringent new rules.

Customers must be scanned by metal detectors and searched by staff, while lighting and CCTV must be installed on the car park.

A record of door staff must also be kept, and groups of five people or more will be refused entry unless they agree to have details of their identification taken.

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The committee heard the club, based just off the High Street in the town centre, has had six police incident logs associated with it, with 10 crime reports between September 12, 2008, and June 29, 2009.

Of the 10 crimes, staff and management have been involved in eight of them.

In one incident a man was pushed to the ground and his watch, mobile and wallet stolen in October last year.

One worker was also charged with possession of a baseball bat, while in June another is said to have inflicted racially aggravated malicious wounding on a customer. The club has also tested positive for cocaine.

Licensing Inspector Pat Smythe told the hearing at Sandwell Council House that police were not happy.

He said: “The next occasion where we have any problems with this premises we might have to invoke more serious powers on serious disorder.”

Mr Heath Thomas, representing the club, said: “It appears to me that there have been few problems on that premises in that time.”

Panel chair Councillor Mohammad Rouf, said: “We have taken such steps as we consider necessary and which are proportionate in the promotion of the licensing objective which is for the prevention of crime and disorder.”

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