DRUG dealing was widespread in a popular Colchester pub and cocaine “openly used”, according to a police report.

The Royal Mortar had its licence suspended after an undercover police probe into drug activity.

Colchester Council’s licensing sub-committee will decide on Monday whether to revoke its alcohol sale licence after an application was made by Essex Police.

According to a report compiled by the force, undercover officers were deployed to observe and detect drug dealing between July and November last year.

The report to the licensing committee says: “It is Essex Police’s belief the use of cocaine was so blatant and conducted in plain sight that management and staff were either complicit or were wilfully blind to the occurrences.

“The drug dealing and drug use was widespread - it took place on each occasion the premises were visited - and conducted in the open.”

The force said drugs were “routinely” sold on the premises, while cocaine was “openly used”.

Recording one incident in July last year, the report said: “Undercover police officers attended the premises and were supplied with one bag of cocaine.

“The suspect who supplied the drugs reported was already at the premises when officers arrived.

“He reported he was ‘made busy over the last few days, hitting it hard’.

“The officers engaged a customer sitting on another table and it was reported to them ‘the pub was full of drugs’.”

After the police presented its findings to the council, the pub’s licence was suspended.

But the landlord Paul Bugg previously told the Gazette he received “no warning” of the move.

READ MORE: Pub landlord 'blindsided and devastated' by alcohol ban over drugs probe

Mr Bugg said the pub had taken a tough stance on any illicit behaviour, with staff barring anyone found to be using drugs.

The sub-committee will make a decision at a hearing on Monday.

In the report, the police said the landlord would need to take steps to “prevent a reoccurance” should its licence remain in place.

It said: “These changes, if the licence is not revoked, would need to include CCTV provision and use of door supervisors.”

Mr Bugg declined to issue any further comment until the hearing is concluded.

On Wednesday, the Leather Bottle pub, in Shrub End, had its licence to sell alcohol revoked after an investigation into drug dealing.

The police had described the Leather Bottle as the “heart of a large scale cocaine business”.