By Rod Webb

Running a pub these days isn’t easy, what with the low price of take-away alcohol, the unsociable hours, finding good staff and attracting a regular flow of customers; so the last thing you want to deal with is a break in. But this is what happened to Louisa Gover recently when the popular Tower pub in St Leonards that she owns and runs was broken into in the early hours of Sunday 21 July. And she’s still fuming.

PICTURE: rod webb

It was an opportunistic break in: “Someone saw a way in and took it,” she says. They got away with the usual high-value spirits worth about £200 but also, more annoyingly, three charity boxes full up with money: a loss for the RNLI, St Michael’s Hospice and the Hastings Cat Lovers Society.

Like any break in, it’s not just the loss of money, but also the fact that someone has violated your space and the general aggravation that follows. Fortunately, “everyone has been really helpful and great” according to Louisa, including the police, the alarm company and, of course, the customers.

Although Sussex Police have released a CCTV image of a man they wish to speak to in connection with the break in, the picture is so fuzzy that it is unlikely to help. But body language and clothing can spark recognition so it’s worth having a look. Anyone who can identify the intruder or has any other relevant information can inform the police online or call 101 quoting 557 of 21/07.

“It could have been worse, and lessons have been learned,” says Louisa, looking on the bright side, but she admits that running a successful pub is “mainly about blood, sweat and tears.” Her father had the foresight to buy the freehold of the pub back in 1998, which gave them a head start. This means Louisa can “go with the flow”, choosing her own selection of beers and adapting to what the customers want. 

It must be working as The Tower was awarded the CAMRA South East Sussex Pub of the Year for the fifth year running in June 2019.

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