"I felt spit on my face," says teenager who claims pub near Bedford did nothing to help him over Covid breach

Regular says he was ignored by staff as man kept grabbing him

Friday, 18th September 2020, 4:01 pm
Updated Friday, 18th September 2020, 4:28 pm

A teenager has claimed staff at the Red Lion in Wilstead did nothing to help him as a man breached Covid rules and continually grabbed him.

The man - who wants to remain anonymous - has even reported the incident to police after he says he was grabbed between 10 and 15 times.

And he and his family and vowed never to return to the pub in Bedford Road.

Red Lion, Wilstead (Google)

"I came into the pub at about 5pm and there was a man who I did not recognise - as it's a local pub, you usually know everyone there.

The 19-year-old added: "He put his arm around me and he kept shouting loudly.

"I asked him to stop because of Covid - but he did it eight and 10 times until closing time. I could feel spit landing on my body. I felt spit on my face."

The man complained to the landlord and staff at least three times, asking them to do something but he says nothing was done.

"I was ignored," he claims. "It makes no sense."

The man called the police who confirmed they are investigating the alleged breach - and he and his family have decided to vote with their feet.

"We have decided as a family that we can't go back there. We were so mistreated. The whole idea about that pub is it's a local - it's about having repeat clientele. They have complete ruined it.

"In light of the global pandemic, I felt scared. I felt threatened."

The Red Lion is one of Wells & Co’s Pub Partners, meaning it rents the pub from Wells & Co, running it as its own business.

A spokesperson for Wells & Co said: “Responsible pub management and hygiene is of the utmost importance to Wells & Co. and our Pub Partners, especially at this current time. Whilst we don’t believe there is any basis for this claim, we will, of course, work with the police as needed to resolve the matter.”

Mike Kane, director of Camelot Inns, the independent pub company which runs The Red Lion, said: "The individual has been barred from the pub.

"The incident is more of a person to person which is difficult to handle. We have investigated the report received from our licensee at the Red Lion .

"As a company we have ensured all necessary measures are in place to make sure our pubs are safe places to visit.

"We also stress to our customers the important role they have in maintaining social distancing as a key part of keeping our area free from the Covid virus.

"We understand from the licensee and the police that this incident was a result of behaviour by two pub customers late at night and does not relate to any Covid protection measures put in place by the pub."

A police spokesman said: "We were called to a report of a breach of Covid-19 guidelines, and a verbal altercation, at a public house, Bedford Road, Wilstead, at around 12.30am on Sunday (September 13).

"Our community policing team is looking into the circumstances of the incident and an investigation is still ongoing. If anyone has any information about this incident, please contact us quoting reference 16 of 13 September.

"Anyone wishing to report a breach can do so by visiting Bedfordshire Police’s online reporting centre here."

Despite contacting the pub, they did not respond.