Licensees are being offered a way to claim money from troublemakers who damage their property or attack their staff, under a scheme being led by National Pubwatch.
The civil recovery scheme could even let licensees claim for some of their security costs such as doorstaff and CCTV — using the argument that the security is only in place due to the actions of such individuals.
National Pubwatch has teamed up with specialist agency Retail Loss Prevention (RLP) for the move.
After an attack takes place, a police incident report would be sent to RLP, which would write to the offender outlining the offence and demanding the cost — this would be agreed between the licensee and the loss prevention company.
A payment plan would be agreed with the offender and could involve a lump-sum payment or monthly direct debit instalments.
If they refuse to pay, RLP would pursue the payment through the civil courts.
The scheme would work on a no-win, no-fee basis, with RLP getting 45% of the costs in successful cases.
Civil recovery is frequently used by supermarkets to claim back money from, for example, shoplifters. RLP counts major retailers such as Marks & Spencer and BP among its clients.
National Pubwatch committee member Trevor Pepper said the idea derived from the Court Not Caution campaign, which is calling for anyone who attacks pub staff to face court.
Pepper said: "I identified that void, where the response to a crime would be local resolution, or caution, or no further action.
"Often the licensee is left with a large bill.
"He can either pay out of his pocket or get money in insurance. The next avenue is civil recovery."
National Pubwatch is looking for a test case for the civil recovery scheme, which would be made available to members of local pubwatch schemes registered with National Pubwatch.
Licensee Trish McManus, of Greene King pub the Hare Arms in Stow Bardolph, Norfolk, said: "Anything that can help pubs and provide some recompense is good. I would just be concerned about how it would be implemented, if there was a lot of form-filling and time-wasting."