Gosport community rallies after pub is targeted by vandalism attacks

The new licensees at the White Horse, Ian Rowlands and Caron Budd
The new licensees at the White Horse, Ian Rowlands and Caron Budd
Picture: Highways England/Twitter

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OFFENSIVE graffiti was scrawled across a Gosport pub, prompting a huge outpouring of community support.

The White Horse, in Nobes Avenue, Gosport, was attacked by vandals twice in one week, with windows being smashed and rude words sprayed across its front.

Graffiti at the White Horse in Gosport

Graffiti at the White Horse in Gosport

New landlord Ian Rowlands, who runs the pub with his partner Caron Budd, says he has been left shocked by the unprovoked attacks.

Ian, who used to run a karaoke business before taking on his first pub, said: ‘We are all dumbfounded by the attacks. We have got no clue as to why this has happened.

‘Somebody is trying to be really nasty and damaging and we don’t know why.’

The couple took over as licensees on behalf of owner pub chain Admiral Taverns last month.

They say they want to turn it into a community-focused pub and have revamped the food and drinks on offer.

The first attack took place on Sunday, March 12 with graffiti on the outside and some of the windows smashed.

Outraged, especially as the pub is near to a school, the community came out in force and together with their support; Ian painted over the graffiti and boarded up the smashed window.

The second vandalism attack took place on Tuesday, March 14 with more graffiti on the outside.

Again, wellwishers were up at dawn to paint over the word to help get the pub up and running – meaning it could reopen at noon.

Anna Clissold, Admiral Taverns’ business development manager, said: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the community’s support who have unreservedly come out and helped Ian and Caron to get The White Horse back on its feet.

‘The White Horse prides itself on being a pub at the heart of the Bridgemary community and vandalism of this kind has a devastating impact on our tenants and the community.

‘We are fully co-operating with the local authorities who are investigating this vandalism and we would urge anyone who has information on the perpetrators to come forward.’

Ian, from Fareham, said the attacks would not deter him from transforming the pub and continuing with his business venture.

The 49-year-old said: ‘This has put a downer on things but it won’t stop us.’

A spokeswoman from Hampshire Constabulary said it is investigating. Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting reference 44170096805.