Connor Brown murder: Airport-style metal detector introduced at Sunderland city centre nightclub following tragic death of teenager

The new security measure at Illusions nightclub in Sunderland. 'Image by Trojan Security NE.
The new security measure at Illusions nightclub in Sunderland. 'Image by Trojan Security NE.

A security firm has increased its security checks at a Sunderland city centre nightclub in a bid to tackle knife crime following the tragic death of teenager Connor Brown.

Trojan Security, which has a base in Sunderland, has introduced a new airport-style scanning gate at the entrance of venue Illusions.

John Marshall, who owns security firm Trojan Security NE.

John Marshall, who owns security firm Trojan Security NE.

John Marshall, who owns the security firm, said the gate was urgently installed at the Holmeside venue in a bid to ensure that people feel safe on the streets of Sunderland after Connor Brown was attacked on a night out in the city.

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The 18-year-old was found in a back lane next to The Borough pub in Sunderland city centre in the early hours of Sunday, February 24, with life-threatening injuries, which Northumbria Police said were consistent with a stabbing.

He was taken to hospital but sadly died.

Connor Brown.

Connor Brown.

To pay tribute to Connor, the Illusions nightclub also held a minute's silence where clubbers raised their phone torches to the teenager, while his photograph was shown on the wall of the venue.

It comes after Sunderland’s top cop moved to assure families the city centre is a safe place to go and vowed to work with other organisations to tackle concerns.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, area commander for Sunderland and South Tyneside, said: "We do everything we can to make the city centre safe and we will continue to do that, look at innovative ideas and what is going on nationally as best practice, as well as make sure we maintain a visible presence."

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Mr Marshall, 41, said: "We want people to feel safe on the streets of Sunderland.

"We had airport gates installed in the door of Illusions and they will be a permanent fixture.

"We have always had hand-held wands where we scan people as they come in, but people can slip through them.

"So we had the opportunity to purchase the airport gates and then got our heads together with the owner about stepping up the security measures.

"They are a visible deterrent and they are operated by three door staff.

"Everyone's safety is paramount and that includes my staff.

"It has been met with great feedback and people have been over the moon to see the gates.

"They are a permanent fixture and will be part and parcel of the way we are going forward."

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Now that the new security measures have been introduced, those going into club have to queue up at the door, empty their pockets into containers and then go through the scanner gate.

The gate would then alert door staff if they had metal on their body and then door staff would then use a wand scanner over their body.

Additional searches would also be done by male and female door staff if required.

Trojan Security provides security for five bars, including Fusion, Hidden and Establishment.

And now it is looking at rolling out the stepped-up security measure at Fusion, with its other venues likely to follow suit.

Dad-of-thee John continued: "The stepped up security measure is in light of what has happened with Connor.

"It has made everyone more aware.

"There has always been underlying issues across the country, but with this tragedy being on our doorstep, we want people to feel safe on the streets of Sunderland."

A post on the Trojan NE Facebook page showing the scanners has attracted heaps of praise, gathering nearly 300 likes and being shared nearly 600 times.

Read more: Connor Brown murder: Trial date set for pair accused of Sunderland teenager's death

* Two men have been charged with murder and are due to stand trial.

Leighton Barrass, 20, of Hartside Square, and Ally Gordon, 19, of Polmuir Road, both Sunderland, are both charged with murder on February 24.

Gordon faces a separate charge of possession of a bladed article.

The trial is expected to take up to 10 days at Newcastle Crown Court.

A provisional date of July 1 has been identified.

Barrass and Gordon have been remanded in custody.