Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 17:37 UK

Gay bar row over 'straight' sign

A complaint has been made to police over a banner declaring a former gay bar in Sunderland city centre has now gone "straight".

The sign outside the Retox bar, in High Street West, read: "Retox under new management! Now Straight! Top totty dancers on match days!"

A police inquiry is under way into a complaint that the sign, which has now been taken down, was offensive.

The bar owners said it was never their intention to offend.

Assistant manager Carl Lovett said: "We admit it was not the best banner but there was never any intention to cause offence."

Mainstream switch

He said it had been removed and replaced with a sign advertising a rock night.

The bar, which opened as a seven-days-a-week gay venue in January, decided to switch to becoming a mainstream premises after failing to attract enough customers.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said officers had asked Sunderland Arch, a community group dedicated to minority issues, to help resolve the complaint.

He said: "On 12 May police received a complaint about a sign displayed in the window of Retox bar in High Street West, Sunderland.

"Police are working with Sunderland Arch to find an appropriate resolution to this complaint."

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