Last orders called after 200 years

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THE bells have rung for the last time at a 200-year old village pub which has been forced to close.

Evelyn Jackson, landlady of The Five Bells in Church Lane, Bugbrooke, has closed the doors after the owners of the building, Scottish and Newcastle, put up her rent to an unaffordable level.

Mrs Jackson, who has run the pub for the past four-and-a-half years, said: “They’ve put the rents up every year and this time I showed them the books and said ‘I’m making a loss’ but they came back to me and increased the rent again.

“It is a shame and I’m going to be sad to leave. The local people have been very supportive of us.

“It is a lovely village with really nice customers. It is the oldest pub in the village and dates back to 1805.

“We have worked hard to make it a decent environment for people to drink in and eat a good meal.”

Scott Hickey, who helps his mum run the pub, said: “It seems like they are trying to squeeze people out and make it impossible to make a living.”

Mrs Jackson, who runs other pubs in the county, has said the recession has hit the pub trade hard.

She said: “You are affected by the fact people have less money to go out and spend but my other two pubs are still quite busy.”

Although Mrs Jackson’s lease period did not finish until the end of the month, the pub opened for the final time on Friday.

She said: “We invited all the locals down to enjoy a drink and have a good night.”

The pub gets its name from the five bells in the village church on the other side of Church Lane.

One regular Michael Emonds said: “I have been coming here for 20 years and this is a fantastic pub.

“This news is devastating for the village. It is a great little pub and Bugbrooke needs a place such as this.”

The Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company was taken over by Heineken and Carlsberg in 2008.The company was unavailable for comment.