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Shipwrights Arms landlord Derek Coles tells of terrifying moment rifleman circled pub

By Bess Browning

A pub landlord has described his terrifying ordeal after a man armed with a rifle began circling the pub.

The Shipwrights Arms landlord Derek Coles was enjoying his breakfast with his family when he noticed a figure lingering outside.

Like a scene out of Faversham-set TV drama Southcliffe, a seemingly drunk gunman marched around the property in Hollowshore trying to find a way in.

Derek Cole outside the pub near Faversham

Derek Cole outside the pub near Faversham

In a horrifying 30 minutes before police showed up, Derek tried to coax the man away from the property and protect his wife and two grandsons, one of whom is only 10.

Mr Coles said: “I asked the man to leave initially but he refused and that’s when he pulled out the rifle.

“Something like this has never happened before so we really didn’t know what to do and it was incredibly frightening for my grandchildren.

“He just kept taking the gun out of his bag and then putting it back. He was acting really strange.

“He managed to break into the cellar and steal bottles of wine, but luckily he couldn’t get into the pub.

“It was absolutely terrifying.”

Armed police swooped on the pub at about 9am on Sunday, just minutes before 150 charity walkers descended on the pub for tea and coffee.

Mr Coles added: “It is so lucky that the police got there in time before the walkers got to the pub, otherwise anything could have happened.”

Police spokesman Alice Hemmings said: “Police were called at around 8.10am on June 29 to Hollowshore, Faversham, to reports a man appeared intoxicated while carrying what appeared to be a weapon.

The Shipwrights Arms in Hollowshore

The Shipwrights Arms in Hollowshore

“Officers attended and arrested a 27-year-old Faversham man. The weapon was found to be an unloaded air rifle.

“The man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and bailed pending further inquiries until July 2.”

“Something like this has never happened before so we really didn’t know what to do and it was incredibly frightening for my grandchildren" - Derek Coles

The Shipwrights was one of the worst hit by December’s floods, which left the pub with thousands of pounds worth of damage and forced it to close for months.

The next disaster struck in January when a fire engulfed the pub’s chimney and set them back another month before reopening.

Mr Coles added: “It is one thing after another for us. I’m expecting a plague of locusts next!

“We are having a few days off to get over it, as it was very exhausting. We’d like to thank police officer Darren Reed for his support and coming back on Monday to check we were OK.”

 

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