AN OXFORD nightspot has been praised for its tough stance on drugs.

Anyone wanting to enter The Regal music venue, in Cowley Road, must be searched at the entrance.

It has become the first club in Oxfordshire to declare itself a drug-free zone - and says anyone found with drugs on the premises will be banned for life.

The warning, during National Tackling Drugs Week, has prompted police to urge other nightclubs and music venues to follow suit.

Regal manager Jason Preston said everyone, including DJs, VIP guests and band members, was searched for drugs and weapons.

There are also 47 security cameras inside and outside the building and the toilets are designed to prevent drug use.

Mr Preston added: "Everyone who comes through this front door must first one-by-one empty their pockets.

"Everything they have is then checked for any drugs and they are searched for weapons. We are not on a mission to take a lone stand against drugs - we just want to take care of the community and the people coming here.

"We're aware we are not going to change the planet and stop people taking drugs.

"People may even manage to smuggle something inside but we are sending out this message: 'Don't come here with drugs'."

Mr Preston added: "If they don't want to be searched then fine, they can't come in. But so far people have been happy to do it. Everyone is welcome if they don't have drugs.

"We want everyone to feel safe and most people who have come through said they think it's great we are taking things so seriously."

All flat surfaces, including toilet seats, have been designed out in the washrooms to stop drugs being snorted.

The club also has attendants in the washrooms and they are regularly checked by security staff, Mr Preston added.

PC Leigh Thompson, drugs co-ordinator for Oxfordshire, said: "It is great The Regal has decided to tackle drugs head on.

"It would be great if every venue in Oxfordshire followed suit."

The Regal opened earlier this month after a £1m revamp of the building formerly used as a cinema and bingo hall.