VILLAGERS have condemned a gang who ruined a bonfire celebration at Brede by trashing a pub and assaulting the landlord.
The group, went on the rampage when closing time was called at the Rainbow Trout Pub, in Chitcombe Road, Broad Oak, on Sunday night (November 3).
The incident occurred after the landlady, a 30-year-old woman, asked a group to leave the pub as they were closing for the night.
It was reported they started shouting and became violent and aggressive towards her.
The landlord came to her assistance, but is alleged to have been punched by some of the group.
He was treated for minor injuries.
After the group of men had left, a front window was smashed.
The pub was closed on Monday.
A spokesman at the pub said: “Some staff members were assaulted and received cuts and bruises but were not seriously hurt.
“It is too early to estimate the full cost of the damage caused.”
The incident caused outrage in the village and prompted an outpouring of support for the landlord and landlady, who are both believed to be ex-police officers.
The landlord posted on social networking website Facebook: “It was a wonderful day, with a great village atmosphere only to be spoilt by a bunch of thugs refusing to leave at closing time who went on to assault us both and smash up the pub.”
One resident commented: “I don’t know why people think it is acceptable to act like that - it’s disgusting.”
Others branded the offenders as ‘mindless’.
Martyn Channon commented: “These people have worked so hard to bring the pub back to life.”
More than 50 people have contacted the pub to offer help and send messages of support.
Following the incident, police searched the area and arrested four men, and detained a fifth man later that morning (Monday).
A 19-year-old from Bexhill, a 17-year-old from Battle and three men from Westfield, one aged 18 and two aged 17, were arrested for affray.
The teenagers were later released on police bail until December 19 while investigations continue.
Anyone with information, or anyone who witnessed the disturbance, is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.