‘They started grabbing me to pull me over the bar’ - Cromer pub manager describes traveller disorder
PUBLISHED: 10:44 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 20:11 22 August 2017
Two Cromer barmen have described the trouble they faced from large groups of travellers drinking at their premises over the weekend.
Manager of the Wellington pub on Garden Street Nick Copeman said a group of around 17 to 20 travellers came into the pub on Saturday.
After a couple of hours when they became rowdy they were asked to leave, but they refused.
Mr Copeman said: “They started grabbing me to pull me over the bar, saying ‘we are not leaving until you give us some money’.”
Police were called at about 3pm and arrived immediately, but Mr Copeman said: “They were pretty much powerless to do anything other than be a presence here. It didn’t deter the group. The staff felt fearful. It still took an hour to finally get rid of them and we took the decision to shut the pub for the rest of Saturday.
“We’ve never had anything like that. It was petrifying to say the least. It wasn’t a nice situation to be in.”
One police officer told him there were only four officers covering the whole of Cromer at that point. “That made us a little bit more fearful knowing there just wasn’t going to be the police presence to do much about any problems which did happen.”
It meant they had little decision but to shut the pub. “It was a real tough decision. It would’ve cost us thousands and thousands in lost revenue,” he said. “The police should’ve been more prepared.”
Steward at Cromer Social Club, Jeremy Garner, said scuffles had broken out between a group of around 50 travellers and they refused to leave on Friday night.
“We had a small group here to start with about 10.30pm and they were fine. But about 11.30pm the rest just piled in. They wouldn’t leave.
“The police waited outside for reinforcements to come up.”