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‘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

Nick Copeman at The Wellington pub in Cromer. He was threatened by a group of travellers over the weekend. Photo: Archant

Nick Copeman at The Wellington pub in Cromer. He was threatened by a group of travellers over the weekend. Photo: Archant

Archant

Two Cromer barmen have described the trouble they faced from large groups of travellers drinking at their premises over the weekend.

The Wellington pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY The Wellington pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

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.

Jeremy Garner, a steward at Cromer Social Club. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Jeremy Garner, a steward at Cromer Social Club. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

“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.

Cromer Social Club was among the premises affected. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Cromer Social Club was among the premises affected. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

“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.”

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