A LANDLADY has spoken of her shock after armed police stormed her pub in a drugs raid.

Lavelle Lee, 44, who bought the New Inn, in Thomas Street, Oswaldtwistle, last year, was arrested and spent several hours in police custody before being released and told no further action was being taken.

Officers seized cash, files and computer equipment from the pub, which have since been returned.

The raid was one of a series carried out as part of Operation Hornbeam, an ongoing investigation into drugs supply in East Lancashire.

Lavelle, who opened the pub as the new licensee in December, said she was concerned that it could affect the pub's reputation.

She said: "It was really quiet that afternoon. There was only me and one customer in the pub so I was sat down having a drink.

"There was a really loud banging and then police came in shouting at us to get down and put our hands on our heads. At first I thought they were joking, then we saw the guns.

"I was arrested and they took everything from the pub. It was almost midnight by the time they let me go.

"I have put a lot into doing up this pub and making it a place for families, and no drugs is our first rule. I wouldn't say I'm angry about what happened because the police were only doing their job but I was certainly shocked.

"There were even stories going round the area that someone had been murdered, because people saw what happened, and I was worried about how it would affect the business."

Meanwhile, regulars at the Last Orders in Union Road, Oswaldtwistle, held a series of protests last weekend after popular landlord, Gary McCarthy, 48, was given notice to quit and the pub closed following a raid on the same day.

The notice followed Mr McCarthy's arrest during the raids, which also included the Open All Hours shop in Spring Hill Road, Accrington.

Mr McCarthy has since been released on bail by police.

Last Orders regular Lesley Haworth, of Sharples Street, Accrington, said: "We want to show our support because we think this is the best pub round here.

"It has got a lot better over the last year and it's a real community pub. We took our own beer down there last weekend and then we had a big barbecue on Sunday. This weekend we will be there every night as we help Gary pack up."

Detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit carried out the raids last Wednesday with support from Accrington Police, seizing cash and a small quantity of what they suspect to be drugs.

As well as Mr McCarthy, a 24-year-old man from High Street, Oswaldtwistle, a 46-year-old man from the New Inn and a 46-year-old man from Brierfield were all released on bail.

Gary Roberts, area manager for Nectar Taverns Ltd, which owns the Last Orders, said the pub has been closed for minor refurbishment and would re-open. He refused to comment further.