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The Swan Inn, in Little Chart, Ashford, still opens following crash which left hole in side of building

A landlord has told how he still managed to open his pub, despite a huge gaping hole being left in the side of it from a late night smash.

A 4x4 ploughed through the side of The Swan Inn, in Swan Lane, Little Chart, Ashford at 2am yesterday - just hours before it was due to re-open following months of closure.

The scene at The Swan. Picture: The Swan Facebook page
The scene at The Swan. Picture: The Swan Facebook page

Owner Ray Perkins and his wife were in bed when the vehicle collided into the pub, crashing through bollards and the brick wall.

Mr Perkins said: "When the car hit, it was like a bomb going off. It threw things across the room, shattered tables.

"It hit so fast. It's a wonder they're alive."

Police say three 17-year-old boys were in the vehicle when it hit and all were taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries before being discharged.

One of the teenagers was arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent and drink driving and was in custody yesterday.

Police and fire crews attended the pub. Picture: The Swan Facebook page
Police and fire crews attended the pub. Picture: The Swan Facebook page

But despite the damage, The Swan Inn still welcomed customers yesterday and today.

People had to keep to the garden, as the hole and the nearby area has now been boarded up and sealed off.

All of the garden's 27 tables were full throughout yesterday, and 50 meals, including roast dinners, have been served today.

Mr Perkins said: "We decided to open still. We shut off that side of the pub and it has been boarded up. Customers didn't use the indoors at all. Luckily we have an outside toilet.

"It went really well, we were quite full. We're just soldiering on and making the most of it."

Pictures show the aftermath of the crash. Picture: Ann Perkins Facebook
Pictures show the aftermath of the crash. Picture: Ann Perkins Facebook

Mr Perkins said that yesterday was an emotional day for the team.

He said: "It was very emotional, very upsetting. We were all exhausted come 10pm. We'd been up since 2am and had been flat out the day before getting everything ready. We're all achy now. But we did it and everything went well."

Structural engineers are due to give their assessment at the pub tomorrow.

It is not the first time the 15th Century pub has been hit.

In February 2017, a woman was taken to hospital with head injuries after a van hit the pub's wall.

Previous landlord, Brian Davies, was also asleep and the crash happened around the same time - at 2am.

He said at the time: “I went downstairs to find the front of a van through the wall of the pub. It was coming down the road far too fast, and it’s the second time this has happened in the last three months.

“It’s quite scary when you are woken up at that time in the morning and half the wall under you is collapsing. The whole building shook, and it was probably about 10 ft away from where I was sleeping to where they came through the wall.”

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