A NEW Doncaster pub landlord and his dad were savagely beaten with sticks after they stood up to a gang of troublemakers, writes Russ Newton.
But Liam Evans, who took over The Red Lion in Askern a month ago, says he is determined not to let the yobs win - and is back behind the bar despite being battered and bruised over most of his body.
The 31-year-old and his father, Dave, who was also clubbed repeatedly, say they have been overwhelmed by support from customers and other residents in Askern.
Police are still investigating the incident which happened in the car park of Alexander House, just behind the High Street pub, after the father and son went to investigate a disturbance which may have been caused as a deliberate ploy to lure them into a trap.
Liam and his 52-year-old dad say they have paid the price for standing up to ‘idiots’.
“The Red Lion used to be a brilliant pub but it went down over the past couple of years and there used to be underage drinking and drugs,” said Liam.
“Me and my wife took over a month ago and we are turning it round. We’ve got rid of the idiots - there were about 10 or 15 of them who used to be outside, out of their heads on drink they bought elsewhere.
“I was told one of them had attacked someone in Askern so I barred him. Then my wife’s brother was in the bar when a lad came in and said, ‘You’ll get trouble tonight’.”
Dave, who also lives in Askern, was just leaving the pub at 12.30am when he heard the sound of glasses being thrown at rear of The Red Lion.
He said: “I went to investigate with Liam and we asked this lad what he was doing. Then four lads jumped out from bushes with big sticks, about the size of table legs.
“They set about us and jumped on top of us.”
Liam added: “The first blow to my head put me to the ground. I kept trying to stand up but they kept hitting me. I think it must have lasted about a minute.”
His dad shouted at the gang to leave Liam alone and the thugs ran off before police were contacted.
Both men were treated at Doncaster Royal Infirmary for their injuries and Liam needed an X-ray to establish that his jaw was not broken.
He said: “Despite looking a mess I faced the customers the next night to show we’re not going to be intimidated.
“What’s happened has made us stronger and we have had a lot of backing from people coming into the pub. All the village is supporting us.
“We want this to be a pub for couples and older people, not this sort of person.”
If the offenders are caught the landlord will ask for them to be barred from all licensed establishments in Doncaster.
Kenneth Tindall, chairman of the Askern and District Pubwatch Scheme, said: “We have already discussed this matter and once we get to know who they are they will be banned for life.
“We have not had a landlord beaten up like this for a long time, but there seems to be an issue with young people in Askern at the moment.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “At 1.10am on May 25 reports were received that two men had been assaulted with tree branches after confronting youths at the rear of The Red Lion pub in Askern.
“Both men were taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary with minor injuries. Inquiries are ongoing.”