Stand-off leads to pub lock-in

A FAMILY are barricaded inside the pub they used to run today following a bitter row with the owners and an ultimatum to clear out by Monday.Chris and Wendy Rudge chained the doors shut of The Railway pub, in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, after owner Mike Burgess, of Premier Pub Company, gave them six days to leave the pub and their home upstairs.

A FAMILY are barricaded inside the pub they used to run today following a bitter row with the owners and an ultimatum to clear out by Monday.

Chris and Wendy Rudge chained the doors shut of The Railway pub, in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, after owner Mike Burgess, of Premier Pub Company, gave them six days to leave the pub and their home upstairs.

Relations between Mr and Mrs Rudge and Mr Burgess deteriorated over several weeks following allegations of missing stock and both sides say they have now turned to lawyers to help resolve the stand-off.

Mr Rudge, 47, who has been at the pub with his wife, 41, three children and one grandchild since December, said: "We are not going anywhere. We have done nothing wrong. There was never any missing stock."

Mrs Rudge added: "We have had a lot of support from other people in the industry and some of our customers say they'll even pass us food parcels through the windows to help."

Problems at the pub, which has been famed as a music venue and once played host to Status Quo, began earlier in the year when a stock take revealed an apparent £3,000 discrepancy in stock.

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The Evening Star reported in April how The Railway then ran out of beer after suppliers cut off deliveries due to alleged debt problems.

Then began an increasingly bitter row which has now left three part-time bar staff and two part-time cleaners laid off and the pub shut until the dispute is resolved.

"Mr Burgess came on Tuesday and told us to be out by Monday. I don't think he can do it so we have contacted our lawyer. I've been in the pub trade for 30 years and we want to move to a new pub but not until we get paid."

However, Mr Burgess said new people would be installed at The Railway and it would be open for business next week.

"We are awaiting new management. Mr and Mrs Rudge have letters on their way from our solicitor. The bar and cleaning staff will be taken back on and their wages will be paid this week but we will not pay them (Mr and Mrs Rudge) until they vacate the premises.

"Over the last three of four months it has gone from bad to worse. When I went there I had to talk to them for half-an-hour from outside because they have chained the doors up.

"The pub will re-open and we are even talking to a possible new purchaser about taking over the pub.

"They are making us look like the villains but it is them who are the problem."

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