The White Swan pub in Swansea, south Wales, ceased trading early last year, but reopened months later after being taken over by landlord Gez Couch.
Determined to transform the old-style boozer into a modern pop-up business with entertainment, craft beers and locally sourced food, Couch claimed he’s had to shut up shop because the area has been “abandoned to crime”.
Having “regularly witnessed” drugs, prostitution and violence take place on the pub’s doorstep, Couch said the final straw was witnessing someone in a property adjacent aiming an air rifle at people from a window down the street, prompting a response from armed police.
“The place is just abandoned – I’ve tried to make a real go of this place – but I’ve had enough,” Couch exclaimed.
“I’ve regularly found discarded condoms and hypodermic needles in the car park and at the rear of the property because the area at the top of the road is inhabited by sex workers and drug addicts.
“We have prostitutes standing on the street regularly and there is violence almost every single day, which drives away custom.
“For the past 10 months, I’ve felt as though I have been waving my arms in front of a tsunami of absolute horrendousness while attempting to try and make something decent in the area for its residents."
Fear for safety
Couch added he feared for his life after police failed to turn up when a customer threatened to petrol bomb the pub.
“People have been persistently shot by air rifles on the street and, as a result, have become too scared to leave their own homes,” Couch added.
“I’ve had to prove that incidents are taking place by taking photographs for the police before they even consider deploying officers.
“I once saw a guy beating up his girlfriend and when I tried to intervene, he turned on me.
“I’ve tried really hard, but people don’t like to come up here as they are scared – my friends won’t even visit.”
Despite taking over last May to turn around the pub’s fortunes, Couch called last orders at the end of March and concluded that he is now looking to take over a pub in a different city in the hope of a fresh start.