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Wife of pub owner accused of ‘racist’ social media posts vows to recreate golliwog display seized by police

Wife of pub owner accused of ‘racist’ social media posts vows to recreate golliwog display seized by police

There were more than a dozen dolls on display at The White Hart Inn in Grays, Essex.

The wife of a pub landlord who is under investigation for allegations of a hate crime has vowed to recreate the collection of golliwogs that were on display before being seized by police.

Christopher Ryley, the landlord at the White Hart Inn in Grays, Essex, is under investigation by police after officers received a complaint about an alleged crime.

Essex Police raided the pub earlier this month and confiscated the 15 dolls Ryley and his wife Benice had allegedly received as gifts from customers over the years before putting on display in the pub.

Footage from the scene shows police inspecting the bar before placing the dolls into a clear evidence bag.

Speaking to Thurrock Nub News after the raid, Bernice said: "Apparently a visitor to the pub had been quite upset about them and made a complaint. Chris is away abroad and will be until the middle of May.

"Police said as he is the licensee they need to interview him and they have taken the dolls away in the interim.”

Essex Police confirmed to LADbible that detectives investigating the landlord are aware of Facebook posts he made in previous years.

Benice does not believe the dolls break the law.

One post, written in March 2018, featured a picture of the dolls hanging from the bar alongside the caption: "We have our golliwogs, yaay.”

Benice responded to the post to say: "Are you sure this is legal. lol," to which the landlord replied: "They used to hang them in Mississippi years ago.”

Sunder Katwala, the director of the integration thinktank British Future, expressed the importance of looking into Ryley's social media posts.

He said: “It is important that police can do their job. These Facebook posts are important because they suggest the intent of displaying the golliwogs is to depict a lynching, or hanging, which takes us into much stronger territory of harassment and racially aggravated hate crime than the impression some people have that they were just teddy bears and golliwogs sitting on a shelf.”

Six police officers raided the pub.

Per the Guardian, Katwala added: “Saying this is just a joke is clearly intended to be quite aggressive and intimidatory. It isn’t the sort of joke that the council or the police should allow in a pub.”

The raid earlier this month comes after Ryley and his wife were the subject of a complaint to the local authority in 2018.

"As far as we are aware we are not breaking any laws by displaying them, and that was proved last time when we were investigated," Benice said this month.

"If we were not breaking the law then, why are we breaking the law now?"

Benice is demanding the dolls are immediately returned to their owners, and vowed to put them back behind the bar when they are.

"It is unreal - we haven't broken the law and there is no legal stuff that says I can't display them. It's just silly," she said.

No one has been arrested or charged in connection with the investigation. Ryley is set to be questioned when he returns from a trip abroad.

LADbible has contacted Ryley for a comment.

Featured Image Credit: Chris and Benice Ryley/Facebook/SWNS

Topics: UK News, Crime