Fenland businessman fights to regain control of the pub police have banned him from going anywhere near
A FENLAND pub remains closed whilst the businessman who claims he has the legal right to run it is banned from going anywhere near it.
Nigel Marsh, managing director of Georges (March) Ltd, was arrested at the town centre pub in March yesterday after he tried to claim the pub back.
Half a dozen police officers wrestled him to the ground, used pava – a form of pepper spray- to restrain him and took him to March Police Station.
Mr Marsh was released 10 hours later but on bail conditions that include prevent him from returning to Georges, formerly the George public house.
He has now filed an official complaint to police demanding to know why he was forcibly evicted from the pub.
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Police accompanied by licensing officials from Fenland Council first turned up at the pub late Friday morning and ordered Mr Marsh to leave, claiming that the owners of the freehold – Wellington Pub Company- no longer wanted him there.
A council spokesman said the pub company also said the leaseholders were Marion and Stephen Smith of Chatteris and it was them they wanted to run the pub “in line with licensing legislation”.
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“Fenland Council’s role was to ensure that the licence was being complied,” said the spokesman. “The police’s role was to prevent a breach of the peace and assist Wellington Pub Company and Mr and Mrs Smith to recover the pub”.
Mr Marsh, however, says Wellington Pub Company have an agreement with his company Georges (March) Ltd and that he was he who had appointed the Smiths as directors to help him run it.
Today Mr Marsh said he had removed them as directors and sent a letter to that effect to their home.
When I phoned Mr Smith he declined to comment and promised “there will be a statement forthcoming later”.
Asked if he hoped to re-open the pub soon he again refused to comment.
Meanwhile the pub remains closed, and Mr Marsh said only a full investigation will satisfy him as to how he came to be banned from his own pub.
Mr Marsh was arrested after he returned to the pub shortly after 2pm yesterday.
“I was charged with disturbance of the peace within my own property, sitting on my own chair, resisting being removed by police officers who had not been invited into my property,” he said.
“At no stage was I a threat to the public, at no stage was I a threat to the police officers.
“I am a middle aged, fat businessman. Force was used to the degree of four officers, handcuffs, and pava spray: this I see as excessive use of force.”