A popular Stamford pub has suddenly closed its doors following a dispute between the management team and the brewery.
St Mary’s Vaults, in St Mary’s Street – which is part of the Tadcaster-based Samuel Smith empire – has been closed to the public since Tuesday.
It was being run by Pam Jackson and James Noll who only took over in mid-December.
The couple were in their tied accomodation next door to the pub when an auditor representing the brewery turned up at 8am in the morning with a letter informing them they were being “summarily dismissed”.
A locksmith arrived an hour later to change the locks.
The letter, signed by boss Humphrey Smith, stated they must leave their home that day or face losing a bond they deposited when taking on the job.
It alleges the couple’s management of the pub was “inadequate” and suggests they were paying Pam’s 24-year-old daughter, Jodie Moore, wages for work which was not being carried out – an allegation they have categorically denied. It also added: “your relief management contract prohibits you from employing relations”.
Pam, 57, said: “As far as we are concerned we were doing a good job running the pub.
“Both of us had been doing part-time bar work there previously and when the company was looking for new managers we were approached to do it.
“We bent over backwards to change our lives around to take on the responsibility.
“My daughter was working in the kitchen at the pub before we took over. We told Humphrey that before we agreed to take the job and were very open about it.
“She was still working there part-time as normal when the pub was closed.
“It was a huge shock to be told to get out.”
James, 41, said he and Pam had significantly increased takings at the pub during their brief time in charge.
He said: “The customers had been great and everything was going really well.
“Now the pub is shut and there’s not even a notice on the door to explain.”
Pam and James have sought help from Citizens Advice and decided not to leave their home immediately as requested in the letter, believing the correct procedures for eviction had not been followed.
They hope to find another pub to manage in the Stamford area.
The Mercury was keen to speak to Humphrey Smith about St Mary’s Vaults and contacted him on Friday. However, he refused to enter into conversation on the subject.