Published: 00:01, 29 July 2017
A city gay bar at the centre of an internet vigilante sting has been subjected to online abuse, threats to burn it down and even had a dead pigeon hurled through the door, says its owner.
Limes’ boss Toni Butcher is in fear for his staff’s and customers’ safety after it emerged last week that a barman had allegedly tried to lure a 14-year-old boy to the bar for sex – only to discover that he had been in contact with a paedophile hunting group.
The 37-year-old barman was confronted by members of the Internet Interceptors, who descended on the Rosemary Lane bar and uploaded five videos of the evening to Facebook.
Mr Butcher terminated the barman’s employment after he was arrested by police, but says that since then there have been threats of violence made to the premises.
On Thursday a dead pigeon was thrown through the front door.
“It had a broken neck with blood everywhere and was obviously killed for the purpose of throwing into the bar,” Mr Butcher said.
“We are being called paedophiles online, we’ve had people shouting through the door or saying that we should be closed down or even that the pub should be burned down.
“I’m not frightened any more. I’m now just angry.”
The Internet Interceptors have trapped dozens of men across the UK by posing as underage youngsters. Videos are then posted online and the police called.
Police have warned against vigilante groups ensnaring people by using fake profiles and officers attended Limes in the wake of the backlash against the pub.
Mr Butcher added: “The police are right behind us on this. They recognise that the attacks on us are homophobic and it’s a very dangerous situation that we’re in.
“But the police have been very good and they are supporting us especially in light of the fact that some people are saying we should all be killed.”
Police spokesman Scarlet Jones said: “We are investigating a report of threatening or offensive communications carried out on social media between 11.59pm on July, 25 and 1.15pm on July 26. “Officers have spoken to the informants and enquiries are continuing.”
They have also bailed Simon Burrin, 37, after he was arrested on suspicion of grooming. He is due back to police on August 9.
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