AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after customers were able to walk behind the bar and serve themselves drinks in a busy Havant pub.
The only member of staff on duty at The Perseverance in North Street, walked out at 8.30pm on Friday night, taking the pub’s takings with her.
Drinkers have told how they saw others simply step behind the bar and pour pints and handed them out while loyal regulars and the pub DJ desperately tried to keep order.
The landlord had apparently left a young female staff member in charge at 7.30pm while he visited other pubs in the town centre.
Pubgoers told The News that while he was gone the staff member walked out – leaving the pub without any staff at all.
As news spread in North Street about the pub with no staff, more people turned up.
One drinker, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It was chaos.
‘At one point there were six people behind the bar getting themselves drinks and handing them out.
‘The girl who was left in charge just walked out and took all the money from the till with her. It was basically a free-for-all.
‘It was absolutely packed and people just helped themselves.’
The landlord returned to the pub at 9.10pm just after a passing police officer stepped in to see what was going on.
The pub was cleared of problem customers and the landlord was allowed to carry on trading until closing time and throughout the weekend.
The pub is owned by Admiral Taverns, based in Chester, but is run by a holding company which leases the building.
The landlord is said to have told Admiral that he only left the pub to check out the competition in the other town centre pubs.
When The News contacted the landlord, who did not give his name, he said he was reluctant to talk because the incident was still being investigated.
He would only say that he had been ‘let down’ by the person he left in charge on Friday night.
The company confirmed that all the takings were later handed back.
In a statement the company said: ‘There was an issue with one member of staff at The Perseverance on Friday evening.
‘This was resolved quickly – within one hour – and the pub continued to trade as normal and throughout the weekend.
‘The management of the pub are reviewing operating procedures to ensure this specific, one-off problem is not repeated, and that the pub continues to serve the local community to the satisfaction of its customers, local people and indeed the licensing authorities and police.’