Pub couple shut out when locks were changed

DISABLED pub manager Daniel Ambler and his family were distraught when they discovered the locks of the Plough and Harrow at Littleport had been changed, and they were denied access to their home.

Oxygen dependent Daniel, his wife Beverley and their two young daughters, made the shocking discovery when they returned home from an afternoon out.

Daniel and Beverley - who had earlier closed down the pub due to Daniel’s ill health and were due to leave at the end of the month – were most concerned because Daniel’s oxygen mask and medication were inside the property.

Beverley said: “It was a huge shock; especially because the children were in the car, they thought we had been burgled.”

A caretaker appointed by the pub owners helped the pair obtain some belongings that day; and the family were forced to sleep on the floor at the home of Beverley’s mother.

The following day, regulars rallied around to help move the couple’s belongings into storage.

Beverley said: “I got a solicitor’s letter, stating that the pub company believed we had abandoned the property, even though we had been living there and going in and out; and that our furniture, beds and white goods were all still inside.”

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She has been told that the pub company County Estate Pubs Ltd changed the locks “to prevent vandalism and squatters gaining access to the property.”

Daniel, 36, and Beverley, 36, are currently camping out at the pub, with just a bed and a television, while they look for a new home.

“We had cleared everything else out,” said Beverley. “We can stay until October 24, that is when our period of notice ends.

“Daniel is not well and needs oxygen, especially after the shock of being locked out. We have had to split up the family; our daughters are living with my Mum.”

The couple took over the pub 18 months ago, but Daniel suffers from COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and when his health worsened, he was registered disabled.

Beverley said: “I was unable to cope running the business, looking after him and our two young daughters.

“After much soul searching we decided to close down the business, and we were issued with a notice to quit by 24 October.

“We began to slowly move belongings from the pub into storage so that by the deadline there would only be heavy furniture left, and we would get a removal company to clear those.”

On Friday 30 September the couple found the locks were changed, and the next day the couple were told they had three hours to clear out their possessions.

“We had to stay at my mother’s houses on her sofa, and that made my husband very ill, he spent most of the time on oxygen.”

After negotiations, and the couple taking advice, a new set of keys was given to the couple last Monday. They are currently looking for a new family home in the Ely area.

When contacted by the Ely Standard, a representative from County Estate pubs was not willing to comment.