New safety measures at a string of venues in South Shields have been praised by punters and staff alike.
Nightclub owner Kerrie Katopodis introduced hand-held metal detectors and compulsory searches at her premises in the wake of a fatal stabbing in Sunderland.
Teenager Connor Brown, who was 18, lost his life in the attack. Two men have been charged with his murder and are set to stand trial later this year.
One month on, and ahead of a busy bank holiday weekend, she said the backing for the new measures has been “unbelievable”.
Kerrie, 44, said: “There has been so much support from the general public, they feel a lot safer coming in.
“It would be my biggest nightmare for something to happen in one of my venues - we just want a nice, peaceful and calm bank holiday to go without incident.”
Since the changes took place at the start of last month, Kerrie said the atmosphere in and around her venues has felt “safer” for both her customers and her staff, who she says are “over the moon” with the additional security.
Punters looking to enter one of the premises are first asked for identification at the club’s door. They then proceed to the venue’s search area, which is just inside.
A person’s bag is checked, and their pockets are emptied into a tray. They are then scanned with a metal detector. If clear, they can go in.
Where possible, staff check every person on entry. At peak times, this can be amended to every other person.
While the door process may now take a little longer, Kerrie said, the benefits far outweigh the additional time and cost.
Her workforce are yet to turn away a potential customer from one of the clubs for carrying a prohibited object - a result she has attributed to the new measures acting as a deterrent.
Kerrie added: “I want people to feel safe in my venues and leave unharmed and happy.”