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Fenn Bell Inn, St Mary Hoo, zoo will be closed until Monday after woman spat at staff

A pub zoo will be closed for the last days of the summer holidays after a customer spat at a member of staff.

Andy and Kelly Cowell have decided to close the zoo at the Fenn Bell Inn in St Mary Hoo for the next three days after the incident.

Over the summer holidays the pub has had an average of around 4,000 visitors a week but Mr Cowell said their car park just can’t cope.

Andy and Kelly Cowell at The Fenn Bell Inn, St Mary Hoo
Andy and Kelly Cowell at The Fenn Bell Inn, St Mary Hoo

People have been parking in a nearby industrial estate, despite the Cowells telling them not to.

Today, when a member of staff told a customer they could not give them a table, she spat in her face.

Mr Cowell also said people have been abusive and threatening to staff because they could not get in.

The dad-of-two said: “We fully understand that people want to come here and are disappointed when they can’t get in, but we are only a small zoo with 50 car parking spaces.

“We will keep the pub open, but the zoo and train will be closed on September 1, 2 and 3.”

Andy Cowell with Spice the kune kune pig. Picture: Steve Crispe
Andy Cowell with Spice the kune kune pig. Picture: Steve Crispe

The pub doesn’t charge entry fees - something the Cowell’s feel very strongly about - but despite thousands of visitors each week only £200 is put in their donation boxes.

Mr Cowell has launched a campaign to raise £250,000 to buy land to create a bigger car park, install a water pipe and to invest in conservation projects and educational programmes.

He said: “We have got hundreds and hundreds of people coming here and we’re trying to raise money to complete the project.

“We had 100 people waiting to come in today but we just didn’t have enough room. People are moaning about car parking but we’ve got a deal on the table - we just need the money.

“I want people to support me and for people to come here. It’s frustrating.”

The pub will be open for the next three days, but the zoo will be closed.


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