Drugs, weapons and thousands in cash found in raids at Birtley gym and boxing club in October 2023

A Northumbria Police officer places a closure notice on Birtley Gym and Fitness Centre, on Durham Road. Credit: Northumbria Police

Drugs, weapons and thousands of pounds in cash have been discovered in raids across two Gateshead gyms.

Birtley Boxing Club, on Beaconsfield Terrace, and Birtley Gym and Fitness Centre, on Durham Road, have been shut down after the link to suspected drug-dealing and other criminal activity emerged.

Investigations by officers with Northumbria Police’s Gateshead Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) led to warrants being executed at both venues on 20 September.

The warrants executed at Birtley Boxing Club uncovered drugs and weapons, while at Birtley Gym and Fitness Centre officers found quantities of drugs and thousands of pounds in cash.

Officers had received reports of various incidents relating to both sites, including suspected drug-dealing, violent disorder and criminal damage.

In a hearing at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 12 October, the venues were ordered to remain closed for the next three months.

Anybody found to be in breach of the orders faces arrest and a possible jail term.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We are pleased that closure orders have now been granted against these two venues.

“We will continue to closely monitor the area and should anyone breach the orders by re-opening either of the venues, they will face criminal repercussions and potential time behind bars.

“Our hope is that these orders act as a deterrent to others because when we do receive reports linked to suspected criminality we will take action.

“By working with the community and partners, we can continue to ensure this area remains a safe and pleasant place to live and work.”

They added: “Under the banner of Operation Sentinel, we are committed to tackling suspected serious and organised crime in order to protect our communities.

“We would encourage anyone with information about such activity to come forward and contact us.”

Councillor Angela Douglas, Chair of the Gateshead Community Safety Board, said: “Activity of this nature has no place in Gateshead and I would urge anyone with information about suspected criminal activity to report what they know.

“We will continue to work with Northumbria Police to act on reports of this nature and tackle any threats to the safety of our communities.”

Anyone with concerns can use the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria Police website or call 101.

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