Last orders called on The Dog in Chatteris

LAST orders have been called on a popular pub which fought a spirited campaign against closure.

LAST orders have been called on a popular pub which fought a spirited campaign against closure.

Managers at The Dog public house declared they would “refuse to go down” after Punch Taverns withdrew a licence to sell alcohol.

Punters rallied round the Chatteris bar and even brought in their own booze in an attempt to keep the venue alive.

But the beer taps were finally turned off after a judge ruled a “periodic tenancy” had not been created - meaning the managers were effectively trespassing.

Nigel Marsh, who helped sons Arron and Andre to run the pub, said his family had been the victim of a “very dirty game”.

The ex-health club owner, who previously accused the landlords of “underhand tactics”, said: “We were all simple pawns in the game.”

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But Mr Marsh admitted: “It’s not all negative.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with my sons and seeing them develop their skills. I have watched them become men and masters of their destiny, something which has been priceless.

“We like to think we have made our mark on the pub and, although we were only landlords for a short time, we have helped to add and keep the spirit of The Dog intact.”

In a heartfelt messages of gratitude, Mr Marsh said: “We have all enjoyed the banter and the community which is generated around The Dog.

“Thank you all of you for helping us so much and especially all of you for adopting my sons in the way which you all did.”

He added: “I look forward to having a drink with all of you over the coming years.”

The Marshs took over The Dog from previous tenants Tim and Catherine Ablett in autumn 2009 but were immediately saddled with an �8,000 debt.

Mr Marsh says he coughed up but that Punch Taverns did not acknowledge the payments, meaning a periodic tenancy was not created. This meant Arron and Andre had no right to be in the pub.

Mr Marsh said: “It seems our error, in the main, was underestimating the pub industry and how it works.”

And he warned the next tenants: “It’s not going to be easy to work under a Punch property with margins so thin.”