A SNOOKER club in Bradford city centre has been closed down by police while officers investigate allegations it was being used in connection with child sex offences.

New sexual offences legislation was sanctioned by magistrates to shut down the Pot Black snooker club in Westgate for three months.

It is the maximum period the law allows premises to be closed in such circumstances.

The club was closed down following a police operation which took place after vulnerable children were said to have been found there.

A man was arrested in connection with the inquiry and was released on police bail after questioning.

Police used Section 136BA of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, to close the premises.

It is the first time the legislation has been used in West Yorkshire and is believed to be the first time it has been used in the UK.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the closure followed reports that vulnerable individuals had been located at the club.

A team of police and forensic officers attended the premises on November 12 to serve closure notice papers on the club’s three owners.

A 35-year-old man was arrested at the premises and is now on police bail as part of the ongoing investigation.

Inspector Andy Gallant, of the Bradford City Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This is the first time that this specific legislation, which came into force in March this year, has been used in West Yorkshire, and we believe in the country.

"The legislation enables police to authorise the issue of a closure notice on premises, which is then presented to magistrates to consider authorising closure for a period of up to three months, if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the premises have been, or are being, used for activities related to child sex offences.

"On the 13th of November the courts duly supported the police action and made a closure order for the maximum period.

“These are obviously very serious claims, which is why this action has been taken, and now the matter can be investigated thoroughly.”

Superintendent Vince Firth, who is in charge of safeguarding children for Bradford District Police, said: "Police have shut down these premises after concerns were raised about the safety of children.

"Police and partners are committed to safeguarding children across the Bradford District, and we hope this sends out a message to businesses that they must make sure their premises are being run in a way that is safe for everyone.

"The use of this legislation demonstrates that we will use whatever powers are available to take swift and effective action where children are thought to be at risk of exploitation.

"It is vital that businesses engage with the police where these matters are raised, and we will not hesitate to use these powers again should similar concerns be raised elsewhere in the district.”