Two pub bosses have been sacked and will lose their homes after giving out free drinks on Remembrance Sunday.

Nigel Cookson and Jo Cashon have been told they must leave The Grey Horse in Elvington after the infringement last month.

The pair have been issued with a termination of employment notice “due to a serious breach" by operator Punch Pubs, Yorkshire Live reports.

It comes after the couple decided to leave free drinks - their own, not pub stock - on tables outside for people paying their respects at the village memorials on November 8.

The pair was initially told by officers that Ms Cashon's DPS licence would be revoked over Covid-19 breaches, but North Yorkshire Police later denied that was the case.

They say the 'gesture of goodwill' has cost them dearly

Punch Pubs have now asked the publicans to vacate the premises - which is also their home - by New Year's Day.

"I don't blame Punch, they've been backed into a corner by the police," said Mr Cookson, who described the situation as "emotionally draining."

"The police had told Punch that they would like to review their premises licence because of that. That's why we've been sacked."

The couple said they are remorseful but feel that the punishment for their "naive" act of kindness has been too severe.

"We feel our case is being dealt with far more harshly than others. For instance,  The Coach and Horses in Harrogate  - also under the control of North Yorkshire Police’s licensing division - were issued with two warnings due to continued flouting of the Covid rules," said Mr Cookson.

"They were then prosecuted as per the police statement ‘only as a last resort’, unlike the one strike and your out applied to ourselves."

He added: "It's not consistent you know. We are not asking to get away with anything, we are holding our hands up - we should not have done what we did but it was all in good faith.

"We are remorseful about it but we just think this is so heavy-handed."

Since YorkshireLive first  reported on it in November, Mr Cookson and Ms Cashon have experienced an outpouring of support.

Residents have  set up a petition  in a bid to keep the couple as landlords, written to the CEO of Punch Pubs and the local MP.

MP for  York  Outer Julian Sturdy has since also written to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

"We are humbled by the amount of support we've had, it's amazing," said Mr Cookson.

"We are so grateful by the amount of people who have taken the time to write to people on our behalf, sign the petition or even just to call and make sure we are okay."

He added: "We haven't given up, we are battling as hard as we can to try and keep this place. We've not given up hope yet but it's obviously not looking great."

The pub would have fully reopened under Tier 2 regulations on December 2.

A  North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “For clarity, Punch Taverns used their own internal procedure to terminate the employment of the Designated Premises Supervisor.

“North Yorkshire Police’s licensing department engaged with Punch Taverns during this process and evidence was provided regarding this incident, including body worn video from the attending officers.”

North Yorkshire Police have been approached to clarify whether they are still looking into reviewing the pub's premises licence.