Masked thugs cause terror at family pub

Phil Guest, landlord of the Holts Arms
Phil Guest, landlord of the Holts Arms

A PUB landlord has spoken of his family’s terrifying ordeal after a gang of masked and armed men burgled his premises.

Phil Guest, who runs the Holts Arms in Billinge, came face-to-face with the group wearing balaclavas and scarves and wielding crowbars and screwdrivers during the disturbance shortly before 6am on Wednesday, April 3.

The gang used a fire escape to break into Phil’s personal accommodation above the pub, where he and his two-year-old daughter were sleeping, and stole a substantial amount of money including staff wages and tips from the bank holiday.

No one was injured, but Phil says the burglary has left his family extremely shocked and scared.

Phil, 35, said: “I woke up and realised they were in the room behind me. I made a lot of noise and started banging on the door. I opened it and two guys confronted me, but then they ran away across the car park.

“It was quite terrifying and I’ve never had an incident where people have got into my private accommodation before. To have your personal space broken into is everyone’s worst nightmare.

“It’s been devastating for my family and a lot of the regulars and customers have taken it very personally as well. It was also a blow to the staff who’ve worked so hard over the bank holiday and all their tips and takings are gone.”

After stealing the money the men departed and drove off in a black Audi estate along Crank Road in the direction of the Merseyside border.

Phil has put pictures from the pub’s CCTV system on the Holts Arms’ Facebook page and Twitter feed to try and bring potential witnesses forward.

PC Martin Dickinson based at Wigan Police Station said: “We believe the car used was a black Audi A3 estate or something similar and it made off in the direction of Billinge Hill, towards Merseyside once the offenders were disturbed.”

Anyone with information should phone police on 0161 856 7188 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.