On Friday 18 August, police were called to the centre of Cromer to deal with five reports of theft, three from shops and two from local pubs where drinks were taken and not paid for.
At around 11.30pm police were also called to Cromer Social Club following reports a large group had attended and refused to leave when asked.
On Saturday, police received reports of shoplifting and “low-level anti-social behaviour” in the same area, before officers were called to another pub at around 5pm after a large group of drinkers refused to leave.
Police said they were aware that pubs in the area made the decision to close at around 7pm that evening following the incidents.
The Wellington, sited in the centre of the town, decided to close early to avoid “further trouble” after it called the police when the group refused to leave, it said.
Pub owner Leona Hopwood told the Eastern Daily Press: “We must have lost a lot in trade because of the closure. Insurance won’t cover it, so we will just have to stand it.”
Another publican, Sandra Pearce, owner of nearby The Cottage, told The Morning Advertiser she decided to close at 7pm on the Saturday night after getting advice from the police – despite not having any trouble herself – reopening at 6pm the next day.
Asked if she thought it was necessary for the pubs to close, she said: “From the lot that were in here, no, but you don’t know what they would have been like after a few more pints.
“It was not ideal having to close, I had a few locals in here, but I said I am sorry I’m shutting and going home, and that’s it - they weren’t very happy.”
Pearce said she believed it had affected trade as a normal Saturday night and Sunday lunch is a busy time for the pub.
Although Pearce agreed she had been lucky, she said she knew there were people out “causing trouble”.
No official direction
Norfolk police stated, however, that local businesses were made aware of a small number of incidents dealt with by officers, with “no official police direction given that businesses should close”.
Commenting on the incidents, Supt Malcolm Cooke said: “We acknowledge there have been a number of incidents in Cromer over the weekend which will understandably cause concern.
“However, I can assure residents these incidents have been dealt with appropriately and are of a nature routinely dealt with in towns such as Cromer on a busy August weekend.”