DRUG dealers are being targeted by police after villagers raised concerns about criminal activity in a pub car park.

Police stepped up patrols near the Spread Eagle pub in Mellor after residents spotted youths dealing drugs in the evenings.

The pub, which reopened three weeks ago, had been closed by owners Mitchells and Butlers for around two months as they drafted in a new management team.

While the pub was shut, youths were seen in cars dealing drugs in the large car park.

Stephen Layden, new manager at the pub and restaurant, said: “During the closure the electricity at the pub was turned off which meant the floodlights were also off in the car park, making it very dark. This could have attracted youngsters on to the site.”

Mr Layden, said he and a staff member were forced to escort some youngsters off the site last Sunday morning.

He said: “It was about 9.30am and there were some people who looked a bit dodgy so we asked them to leave the area.

"We haven’t had any problems since.”

Sgt John Lynsey, of Clitheroe police, said more officers had been drafted in to patrol the area at key times.

He added: “We have had to move some youths on and we will be keeping a close eye on the area.

“Drug dealing is a very serious offence and we would appeal to anyone who witnesses suspicious behaviour in the village to contact us immediately.”