GREENOCK'S busiest nightspot launched a bid to stay open until 4.30am on big nights during the year.

Bosses from Word Up tried to persuade Inverclyde Licensing Board to allow them to stay open later on dates such as Hogmanay and May bank holidays.

Owner Joseph White even offered to pay for two police officers to help resource cover for the extra hours.

But Police Scotland warned against any moves to extend the hours, arguing that it increased the chances of violence and disturbances on the streets.

Word Up told councillors there had been a 'cultural shift' and said they needed to meet changing patterns of demand from customers.

Speaking on behalf of the club, solicitor Stephen McGowan, representing owner Joseph White, said: "I think it is important to state that Word Up is the main driver of the night-time economy in Inverclyde.

"Mr White has also invested heavily in safety and security in the club.

"We would also look to pay for two officers in the area.

"We want to try something different this year. There has been a cultural shift with clubbers coming into Word Up later.

"On Hogmanay clubbers don't even come out until after the Bells.

"Keeping the bar open until 4am has worked not only in Glasgow but in smaller towns like Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Dumbarton and Balloch.

"This could even be a pilot in Inverclyde for 4am openings. It is a chance to do something bold."

The Greenock nightclub's permitted operating hours throughout the year are 5pm to 1am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Thursday 5pm to 2am, Friday and Saturdays 5pm to 3.30am and Sundays 5pm to 2am.

Word Up applied for extended hours to open on Hogmanay 2019 right through until 4.30am on New Year's Day, with the bar closing half an hour before.

They also sought the green light to stay open on Easter Sunday until 3.30am, with the bar shutting at 3am.

They asked for the same hours again on both May bank holidays.

Opposing the extension, Police Scotland argued that there was a direct link between longer trading hours, violent crime and disturbances.

But Inspector Julie McDonald was also keen to stress that the force had a good relationship with the Dalrymple Street club.

She said: "We don't have any issues with Word Up. They are always very co-operative with us."

After deliberating in private the licence board amended the licence hours to let Word Up stay open later on Easter Sunday and on the two May bank holidays, May 5 and 26, until 3am, with bar closing at 2.30am.

Convenor Ronnie Ahlfeld said that the board had also decided that the Hogmanay application should be knocked back, on the grounds that the board has not yet set a policy on festive opening hours for 2019.

But he added: "When we do we will take the points you have made into consideration."