A FORMER soldier who lives in Wigan has spoken of his shock and horror after internet trolls hoaxed that he was banning military personnel from his pub.
John and Angela Beaumont were stunned when their photograph appeared online suggesting they were barring members of the armed forces.
Such was the inaccuracy in the article, which appeared on a blog page called the Daily Bale, that it gave false names and claimed they ran a pub more than 100 miles away.
But the couple, who run the Brookhouse Inn on City Road, Kitt Green, feared the lies could be very damaging to both their business – and their safety.
The bogus story has a picture of the couple but calls them Christine and Thomas Hamilton and even quoted them saying they were banning anyone from the military because “we must be respectful of the ever expanding multicultural society in Britain.”
It was actually reporting on a pub called the Globe in Leicester but used a photo of the couple which was taken by the Knutsford Guardian for a totally unrelated article on their previous pub.
To add to the false nature of the vitriol, that pub isn’t banning anyone either and have this week had to close their doors due to the abuse levelled at staff. It all started when the Globe’s Facebook page was hacked and a message stating that members of the military were banned.
Mr and Mrs Beaumont, who hail from Huddersfield, are proud Brits and have only recently moved to Wigan. They also display a Help for Heroes collection tin on their bar, which was ironically on the photo used with the false report.
Mr Beaumont said: “I was in the army for 12-and-a-half years so to have these allegations against me is annoying.
“We’ve been in touch with the police who have said there isn’t much they can do as the website is untraceable.
“The Globe has had to shut down because of the abuse they got, they really got hammered. It’s just mind-blowing how lies can spread like this.
“We want people to know that it isn’t true and that we welcome anyone from any walk of life.”
The couple have a great reputation at previous establishments and want to bring that to Wigan.
They are keen now to move forward and get the Brookhouse Inn, which they have been running for just nine weeks, packed week in week out.
Angela added: “We’ve only had a couple of people recognise us and they were okay about it but it’s just in case there’s that niggling doubt with people, I want them to know it has nothing to do with us.
“The people around here are so nice, we came here with the chance of a six-year contract after moving around so it was a big lure.
“I was just gobsmacked when heard about the article. I had a look at this Daily Bale website at what was being said and it was just untrue.
“It was getting horrible comments underneath our picture. We were supposed to be called Christine and Tom Hamilton.
“I don’t know how they got that picture from the Knutsford Guardian neither as it’s not the one they used, they used a different one.”
The Brookhouse Inn serves hot and cold bar snacks as well and has a function room which can be hired for free by calling 01942 203749.
Angela added: “We are good people who have done nothing wrong and want to run a good pub.
“I just want to get that across to people and clear our names of the lies that we have been associated with.”