SIX police cars were called to a rural pub after receiving false reports it was in ‘full-swing’ during lockdown.
The Royal Arms in Tockholes was raided by officers who believed the owners were having a party and flouting social distancing rules put in place by the government to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Owners Robin and Ruth Tillbrook said they were infuriated and saddened that someone could think they would break the law, and are calling for people to think twice before assuming pubs are having lock-ins.
Mr Tillbrook said earlier on Wednesday evening a car pulled up to the front of the pub while he and son Adam were working, and his wife was having a glass of wine chatting to the neighbours from a distance.
He said: “A woman, claiming to be an NHS doctor, hurled abuse at us for being open. An hour later, we were sat watching telly and there’s a bang on the door and the police are there.
“They said the ‘so called doctor’ had called them and reported that the pub was open and in full swing.
“We’ve got the utmost respect for all NHS workers, and we know they’re under a lot of pressure at the moment, like we all are, but if she’d just stopped to talk to us she would’ve seen we weren’t breaking any rules.
“It’s not the police’s fault, they were fully understandable, but they had to take the report seriously which is why they sent so many cars.
“We understand tensions are high, and we believe this has happened to a few pubs, but please, we’d ask people to just take a breath before they waste police time.
“Try to think logically about the situation before jumping to conclusions.”
Mr Tillbrook, who bought The Royal Arms around a year ago as a semi-retirement venture for his family, said: “First and foremost, the pub is our home.
“Secondly, we were the first pub in Lancashire to close when the lockdown was announced, and along with our neighbours we have had to close off the parking areas to stop people gathering against the government’s advice.
“We’re angry, because it’s a waste of resources and a waste of police time when they’re already busy and could be using their resources elsewhere.”
Mr and Mrs Tillbrook and their son, Adam, 20, who helps run the pub, were granted planning permission earlier this year to extend the eating area and create a kiosk so they could welcome more patrons.
Mr Tillbrook said despite not being able to get all of the building materials due to lockdown, the situation has given them a chance to give the pub a lick of paint, a clean, and begin work on the extension.
He said: “We’ve been doing work on it for the last three weeks, we’ve had our doors open to allow air to flow through the pub, and we’ve been sat out the front, which is our garden, chatting to our neighbours, who live directly next to us, all while adhering to the social distancing rules.
“Like most people who have gardens and have been chatting to their neighbours over the fence, we’ve been doing the same.
“A police car drove past only a short time before they raided us and waved at us. They know we live here and we work closely with the police anyway.”
The car park at The Royal Arms, which is often used by walkers heading onto the moors or the reservoir is now closed.
Tockholes villagers are urging people to stay away from the area this weekend to protect farmers, save lives,and prevent the spread of coronavirus further.