BACUP Bobbies are a step closer to moving into a new £500,000 headquarters -- in a former nightclub.

Officials are currently in the final stages of thrashing out a deal with the Co-op and Rossendale Borough Council, which jointly own the former Horace's nightclub land and building.

They hope to come to an agreement in the coming weeks.

The plan is to move the town's police station, currently based out of the way in Union Street, into the former nightspot off Market Street, which is highly visible and situated off the main road through the town centre.

A timescale of 18 months for the new police station to be fully operational has been set by Lancashire Constabulary.

The building, which still displays the Horace's night spot logo, closed in June 1997, due to lack of business.

The club has since stood empty, attracting travellers who set up camp in its grounds. It has also been used as a dumping site for rubbish.

Steve Hodkinson, Lancashire Constabulary property services manager, will be in charge of the station's design and development.

He said: "We are looking at the Horace's nightclub site for the new police station but at the moment are still in negotiations with the Co-op and Rossendale Borough Council.

"Talks have moved on quite considerably since we opened negotiations and I am very optimistic we will be able to conclude a deal soon. Things are looking promising. This site will mean the station is in a more prominent position and show people that the police are back in the public eye, which will help make them feel safer in the town.

"We don't know the exact staffing levels and whether the number of officers will be increased at the new HQ but it will certainly be a modern station with a fresh design.

"We have given ourselves 18 months to have the building refurbished and fully operational and look forward to concluding a deal as soon as possible".