Owners of Britain's wonkiest pub 'hired digger used to demolish it' days before boozer was burnt down
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There are some rural locations in the UK that have great attractions, bringing visitors to areas that might otherwise go unnoticed. Unfortunately, one of those places was demolished last week after a devastating fire.
And it has since emerged that the new owners of the UK's 'wonkiest pub' had allegedly hired diggers just days before the fire engulfed the building after it was put forward for listed status protection.
This means that had the order been accepted, the local council would have needed to provide permission for the demolition to take place.
But just before it could go ahead, a blaze took hold of the crooked property, reducing it to rubble which then allowed the use of diggers to come in and bulldoze what was left of it.
The house, situated in Himley, near Dudley in the West Midlands, was ablaze on 5 August - just days after it was sold to a private buyer.
The 18th century pub was then demolished by diggers on 6 August.
It has now been revealed by the digger hire company, Lyndon Thomas plant hire Northampton, that the vehicle was hired out by the company AT Contracting - which is owned by Carly Taylor, who bought the historic pub from Marston's PLC in July.
The hire company owner, Mr Thomas, spoke to The Telegraph about how it has affected his business since the news broke.
He said: “We are a family-run firm and we hired out the equipment to an existing customer who had all the necessary insurances and paperwork.”
"We hired it out without a driver, and we had no idea what it was going to be used for,” he insisted.
“I can’t be held responsible for what he (customer) does, but you wouldn’t believe the threatening phone calls we have received since this happened.”
Many locals were understandably upset to hear about the fire, especially those who were actively petitioning for its survival.
One even started his own petition before the diggers came to finish it off in a bid to save the property, hoping to raise money to stop a potential demolition before the fire happened.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long until the wonky house was engulfed and left in ruins - which saw the building soon be flattened by the owners.
In a recent update issued on 9 August, Staffordshire police revealed they are suspecting arson, with them saying in a statement: “Our investigation into a fire at the Crooked House on Himley Road last Saturday continues as we try to understand the circumstances, which we are now treating as arson.
“This fire has shocked and upset so many given the, albeit not listed, cultural importance and heritage of the building.
“This is not lost on us and a robust investigation using all available information and forensic opportunities is being carried out.”
The Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Staffordshire Police have already launched an investigation into the fire and hopefully, results will be produced soon.
Though as the beloved pub was a place for tourists and locals to enjoy, there’s still nothing that could bring back such a wonderfully old landmark to the West Midlands.