Terror as pub is besieged by rampaging football ‘fans’

Pub owners Denise Bennett and David Riley are angry and upset after Burnley football fans attacked the pub, breaking a window, which is thought to be 100 years old
Pub owners Denise Bennett and David Riley are angry and upset after Burnley football fans attacked the pub, breaking a window, which is thought to be 100 years old
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POLICE are investigating after rival football thugs laid siege to a Wigan pub.

Security staff locked the doors from the inside as more than 30 Burnley “fans” tried to force their way into the historic Bird I’th’ Hand in Gidlow after they were refused a drink before the Championship tie with Latics at the DW Stadium.

Regulars were forced to take cover behind the bar as the hooligans attempted to kick in both doors in to gain entrance.

Police were called, but as the staff and drinkers awaited their arrival, the interlopers then punched through a window of historic significance, showering pub-goers inside with shards of glass - as they goaded regulars to come out and confront them.

But the gang, described as men in their late teens and early 20s, then scattered as they heard the sirens of two approaching police vans, disappearing down a number of side streets.

GMP confirmed today that they were studying the pub’s CCTV coverage in conjunction with colleagues from Lancashire Constabulary in an effort to see if they could identify any of the Burnley fans involved as known trouble makers.

The pub’s owner, Contact One of Morecambe, said that the attack had shocked the all-female bar staff.

But they were proud of the calm way they had acted to keep their regulars away from harm.

The pub has just celebrated its first anniversary after being refurbished.

Originally purchased for conversion into flats, the developers had a change of heart after a massive campaign by the largely-terraced community which surround the “hen hole,” as it is fondly known, to save their local.

Operations manager Denise Bennett said that trouble had erupted at about 2.20pm ahead of the 3pm match kick-off last Sunday.

She said: “The Bird is a popular pub pre-match although we are off the beaten track so don’t usually get caught up in this type thing.

“We had the usual mix: families, young children, mums and dads, enjoying themselves.

“But because it was a local derby match we were advised to pay for a doorman to control who came in.

“All of a sudden we saw this huge crowd of lads walking down the pavement and in the middle of the road heading towards us and ran in quickly and locked the doors from the inside.

“They surrounded the pub shouting and yelling and trying to kick the doors down, literally, with their boots, so we called the police and they said they would send officers down as soon as possible.

“One of them then put his first straight through the vault window, shattering glass everywhere inside the pub.

“Many of them had their hoodies up and it was a really frightening experience.

“They were just complete vandals looking for trouble. It was a horrible thing to see and be caught up in. It’s an all-girl team at our pub but they handled the situation really calmly and we are very proud of them and the doorman.”

Particularly upsetting from a damage point of view was the Edwardian acid-etched “Outdoor Sales” window in the classic former Walkers Brewery pub.

Denise said: “The window that was smashed in is one of the originals in the pub which has been there for more than 100 years and has survived two world wars and never even had a crack in it before these idiots arrived, which is such a shame.”