A DEVELOPER has been prosecuted after a former working men’s club was repeatedly targeted by vandals and became an eyesore.

Michael Brett, director of Brett Bros Developments, was fined £50 and ordered to pay £3,642 in costs and a £30 victim surchargeafter failing to properly secure the former Sandhole Workingmen’s Club in Hardy Terrace, New Kyo, Stanley, which the firm owns.

Magistrates at Newton Aycliffe heard firefighters had been called out to the empty property 14 times between June 2016 and July 2017.

Despite concerns about security at the site, the 61-year-old ignored requests from both Durham County Council and Durham Constabulary to install metal shutters to prevent access.

Ian Hoult, the council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “This case caused considerable issues in the local area, not least to those residents living in properties very close to the former club.”

The court was told that Brett Bros, of High Street South, Langley Moor, had owned the building, which is on the main road through the village and close to a number of residential properties, since April 2016.

The council served a Community Protection Warning on Mr Brett on July 13 requiring him to make the building secure by installing metal shutters or boarding. The work was not carried out and, as a result, Brett was served with a Community Protection Notice giving him a further 48 hours to comply.

When Mr Brett again failed to comply, the council undertook the work at a cost of almost £2,900.

Pleading guilty by post, Mr Brett, of High Street South, Langley Moor, said there had been issues with a planning application, which had taken longer to process than had been expected.