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Margate landlords' despair as troublemakers intimidate pub staff, bang on windows and deface toilets

Landlords in Margate were forced to shut their pubs early after troublemakers "hell-bent on destruction" intimidated staff, banged on windows and refused to leave premises.

Officers descended on the high street and seafront on Wednesday night (August 29) to disperse the large group, who were "shepherded" down the street.

But Paul Rollins, who runs The Britannia in Fort Hill, says they ended up outside his pub until 1.30am, banging on his windows and refusing to leave the car park unless they were let in.

The group were dispersed by police in Margate High Street. (15899360)
The group were dispersed by police in Margate High Street. (15899360)

He admits staff were terrified and he kept the pub shut the following day until he was sure it would be safe to re-open.

"They were saying 'we know you're in there' - it was absolutely awful," he said.

"You don't expect to go to work and risk ending up in hospital.

"We brought in extra staff, but we shut the pub because it's just not worth people getting hurt."

He says it is not the first time he has had trouble with the group and that there was a disturbance two days earlier on Monday.

'We had to close the toilets because they didn't actually use the toilets - instead it was all over the floor and walls' - Chris Earle

Chris Earle, manager of Bugsy's Tenpin Bowling on Ethelbert Crescent, says they also had problems in the week and have had to put a security guard on the door.

"On Sunday (August 25) they came in and they were behaved but rowdy," he said.

"On the Monday all hell broke lose. We had to close the toilets because they didn't actually use the toilets - instead it was all over the floor and walls. We had to get proper cleaners in.

"We usually have security on Saturday and Sunday but we've brought them in every day and will keep them in place for the foreseeable."

Alison Burke, who runs the Bulls Head, says she was warned at 5.30pm on Wednesday there was a rowdy group thrown out of the Wig and Pen.

But by the time she got off the phone, two of them were already being served in her pub.

Police were called to Margate High Street to deal with the rowdy group. (15899356)
Police were called to Margate High Street to deal with the rowdy group. (15899356)

"We made an executive decision to say we were closing but then 20 more of them arrived and we couldn't then not serve them so we made it clear they could have a drink and then we'd be closing for a staff meeting," she said.

"After their first drink, they started pouring their own drinks that they'd brought into the pub.

"They started to get rowdy and one particular gentleman went behind the bar and told the lady to open the till and give him £60."

Eventually the barmaid and two off-duty employees managed to resolve the situation, but Mrs Burke says it took three hours to get the group to leave the pub.

"It was terrifying. The lady behind the bar, who is quite a tough lady, she was reduced to jelly. It was very intimidating.

"Everyone was trying to placate them, to be friendly, so not to make them angry. They were very aggressive and hell-bent on destruction.

"We closed about 8.45pm after they left and we were told not to re-open."

She was told if they returned the following night to call 999.

A police spokesman says officers attended the high street and dispersed the group.

She added: "Officers are aware of previous reports of anti-social behaviour and will be responding to any further incidents accordingly and enforcing the dispersal order where required."

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