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'An apology would be nice' - Couple's anniversary plans ruined after sudden pub closure

PUBLISHED: 14:49 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:42 17 April 2019

Stephen Bailey was left feeling sick after discovering his anniversary plans were ruined. Photo: Archant.

Stephen Bailey was left feeling sick after discovering his anniversary plans were ruined. Photo: Archant.

Archant

A husband was left feeling physically sick after discovering the special anniversary trip he had booked for his wife had fallen apart just weeks after he paid the deposit.

The Long Melford Swan.The Long Melford Swan.

Stephen Bailey had planned to take his wife, Gina, to the Long Melford Swan for a quiet getaway to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary.

On March 16, he booked a bed and breakfast package at the gastro pub for the special day in mid August.

MORE: Chinese restaurant in Ipswich town centre closes down

“It looked lovely, had loads of accolades – everything suggested it would be really nice”, said Mr Bailey.

The Lond Melford Swan.The Lond Melford Swan.

The couple, from Mulbarton near Norwich, were unaware the pub's holding company Stuart Inns Ltd had entered liquidation the previous month.

The firm had become embroiled in a bitter dispute with the taxman – owing more than £200,000 to HMRC.

And just weeks after Mr Bailey paid his £138 deposit, the pub closed indefinitely.

The Lavenham Greyhound and The Hadleigh Ram, also operated by Stuart Inns Ltd, likewise closed down.

However, it was only by chance Mr Bailey discovered the closure.

“I wanted to show a friend where we were staying”, he said.

“To then go on the website and find out it was closed indefinitely – my heart just sank.

“There might be people who still have no idea it is shut. If I hadn't found out I quite easily could have shown up.

MORE: New owners reopen doomed Suffolk pub as tapas restaurant just days after closure

He added: “It's pretty awful and quite embarrassing because of the situation.

“Finding the article and seeing the position the company were in - I felt physically sick. You assume the money is gone for good and you will never get it back.”

Mr Bailey is hoping to recover the money through his bank's debit card chargeback scheme.

Yet he remains angry about the couple's treatment from the firm.

“It just feels like they have taken no responsibility - they haven't even had the courtesy to let me know”, Mr Bailey said.

“An apology would be nice. It would be nice to have some acknowledgement - they should never have carried on trading.

“They took a decision to carry on trading when they shouldn't have - it was the wrong thing to do.”

Stuart Inns Ltd has been approached for comment.

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