Erith landlord could lose license after travellers take horses into pub

PUBLISHED: 14:53 25 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:08 25 August 2010

Landlord Derek McKenzie outside his closed pub

Landlord Derek McKenzie outside his closed pub


Police closed a high street pub after horses were being taken inside before being ridden the wrong way along the one-way system outside.

The Cross Keys in Erith High Street, Erith, is up for a licence review tomorrow (Friday) before Bexley council’s licensing committee.

This comes after police closed the pub on Sunday, August 15, at 9.15pm after receiving complaints from residents as far back as April.

A police officer’s statement reads: “At times these horses have been taken inside the pub and I have spoken to a nearby resident who was in fact drinking in the pub when a horse was in fact present at the bar.”

At one point it was reported that there were up to five horses in the pub with 100 people inside.

Witnessing the events outside the pub a plain clothed police officer said: “The boys were racing the horses up and down in both directions causing other motorists to swerve and break in order to avoid a collision, this continued for over an hour, neither of the boys appeared to have any adult 

On the same day, a large built man began to violently kick the rear of the horses trying to make them go inside the pub, according to another officer.

A statement by another officer reads: “He had hold of the horses neck to hold on, while another male took the reins and made the horse go round and round in circles so as the male was holding on like a rodeo ride.”

In reaching their decision, police said there was: “Concern for child safety near the location as children aged about 12 to 13 were being drawn in traps by horses and down the road to the danger of themselves and others (wrong way etc).

“Children were believed to be drinking alcohol at the location.

“This gave the police no option but to close the premises as it appeared that the licensees had lost control.”

Landlord of the pub for 20 years Derek McKenzie, 68, said in a witness statement: “It is true. I was just keeping them in check without going over the top. It was a river festival that day and there was a horse fair.

“They just appeared. Some of them come here but not with their horses. I told them to get the horses out and they did it within 15 seconds. The six horses didn’t all come in at the same time. I didn’t want to chuck them out as I didn’t want to create a situation with the travellers.

“Closing the pub has crucified me. I have four staff that I have had to put out of work.”

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