A Lewes pub owner has reassured his customers after the pub had to be evacuated following a ‘pepper spray incident’.
The Lamb in Fisher Street was evacuated on Hallowe’en night (Thursday, October 31), after reports that a pepper spray had been discharged.
A band was performing at the live music venue at the time and customers complained of sore and irritated eyes and a cough.
Pub owner Tom Stovold told the Express: “We had a young band performing at the time which brought in a young crowd. It was Halloween night too, but someone took it too far.
“Everyone was complaining of sore and irritated eyes and a cough so the building was evacuated.
“My staff’s response to clear the pub was to ensure that fresh air could come in, and that our guests were not put at risk further.
The pub always takes the security and health and safety of our guests very seriously.Tom Stovold, owner of The Lamb
“No-one was aware of what happened and no-one witnessed it. And there was no evidence of any canisters.
“It was very challenging for our staff – they did a sterling job – they were not trained to deal with this sort of thing.”
Mr Stovold took over the Greene King pub four months ago. He said he wanted to send out a ‘clear message that it will not tolerate this sort of behaviour’.
“Whatever happens, we will deal with it in a responsible way,” he said.
“The perpetrator should be prosecuted. It is a shame that this sort of thing happens in local pubs because you could do without it really. Moving forward – I think all pubs will learn from this.”
Mr Stovold said the pub was treating the incident as a ‘one off’. He said staff were a ‘bit shaken up’ following the incident which was ‘out of their control’.
He reassured future customers: “The pub always takes the security and health and safety of our guests very seriously.”
Sussex Police confirmed it was investigating the incident.
A spokesman said: “Police are making enquiries after several patrons at the Lamb Inn, Fisher Street, Lewes, complained of coughing and a burning sensation in their throats while in the main bar at closing time.
“The building was evacuated and ventilated, with a suspicion that some sort of pepper spray may have been discharged. No one required medical assistance.”