Bar manager ‘humiliated’ by drugs raid

THE manager of a bar raided by police on suspicion of drugs on the premises said he was “humiliated” by the search.

More than a dozen police officers descended on the Bridge Bar in Banbridge town centre just after 7pm on Sunday evening, parking up outside the Bridge Street pub in three police vehicles.

John Woods, who took over the running of the bar just over a year ago, said he was shocked by the scene which took over the small premises - licensed for 60 customers maximum.

“The whole thing was so surreal to me,” John told the Leader. “It was horrendously humiliating.

“It was just so surreal that armed police stormed the bar.”

Following the search police said “nothing untoward” was found.

A bus of 10 people was sat outside the bar bound for Cookstown to see country star Nathan Carter, and six other customers were inside the pub, John said.

The raid, which took around one hour, saw those travelling on the bus searched, as well as the bus itself and the toilets inside the bar.

Police confirmed they searched the premises under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

John (29), who wanted to make it clear he has a “zero tolerance approach” to drugs, said the whole experience is one he would rather forget.

“I am getting married on Friday and this has put me up the left to be honest,” he said. “This paints a bad picture but I was content with the fact nothing was found.

“I co-operated with police and told them if there was any kind of drug-taking activity on the premises that I would want to know about it.”

An eyewitness at the scene told the Leader, “Three unmarked police jeeps flew into parking spots outside and ran into the Bridge Bar.

“Some ran through the side door and some through the front.

John said he is hopeful this incident will not affect trade.

“Word spreads fast about this type of thing and I just hope people know there is nothing of this sort happening in my bar.”