A PUB landlord hit a barred customer with a baseball bat after they returned to his pub on Christmas Eve despite failing to pay their tab.

Herefordshire Council's licensing sub-committee heard in July 2021 that a row had broken out between the Live Inn in Whitbourne's landlord Nicholas Emile John Western-Kaye and a customer on December 24, 2020, with police called after Western-Kaye assaulted a customer with a baseball bat.

Then-58-year-old Western-Kaye's solicitor Judith Kenney said he had taken the Live Inn on in August 2019 after retiring, but the fledgling business was badly hit by coronavirus and a number of thefts, including £2,000 from a private flat at the premises in October 2019, and £365 from the till in March 2020.

Bar tabs totalling hundreds of pounds had been run up and left unpaid, while the pub was hit by another theft of £350 in October 2020.

Two youths, who had failed to keep to an agreed bar tab payment plan of £20 per week, were barred from the pub, but returned on Christmas Eve, ordering drinks which they failed to pay for and refusing to leave when challenged.

A police report submitted to the council by one of the attending officers said the intoxicated landlord at the pub near Bromyard had armed himself with a baseball bat in order to deal with the barred customers.

He had initially said he did not need police and was able to deal with the incident himself, "as that is what they did in the country," the officer wrote.

He had later said he was sorry, Miss Kenney said, admitting his actions had been over the top.

CCTV footage showed Western-Kaye approaching the customers as they sat drinking in the pub, before hitting one of them in the back with the bat.

A struggle followed, with customers attempting to wrest the bat from Western-Kaye, with Miss Kenney reporting that one of the customers had threatened to take the bat and "give him a good hiding".


Miss Kenney said Western-Kaye had not been working that evening and had come downstairs with the bat after he was told barred customers had been served, believing there would be trouble in getting them to pay or leave.

Police told the council that they were not satisfied that this type of incident would not be repeated, and despite no further incidents being reported, Western-Kaye was removed as designated premises supervisor and banned from entering the licensable area during licensing hours.

Western-Kaye, who received a caution for common assault after the incident, appealed the decision, with a hearing listed for May 10.

But, court documents reveal, he has since withdrawn his objection to the decision to remove him as the designated premises supervisor, while maintaining his objection to the decision to ban him from entering the licensable area during hours.

Both parties had reached agreed terms, with a new decision substituted for the earlier decision upholding his removal as designated premises supervisor but allowing him to enter the licensable area.