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Protesters block removal of rubble from site of demolished pub

EXCLUSIVE Stand-off at the Crooked House: Protesters who want burnt out pub rebuilt block workers trying to remove rubble from site – as owners holiday in Corfu 1,600 miles away

  • EXCLUSIVE: Protesters have vowed to remain until they have answers 

Desperate protesters have staged a sit in outside the gutted remains of The Crooked House pub in an attempt to stop workers from removing the rubble – whilst the owners of the building itself are 1,600 miles away sunning themselves in Corfu.

Until August 5 when it mysteriously burnt down and was then bulldozed without council permission, The Crooked House in Himley, Staffs held the title of Britain’s wonkiest pub. 

Staffordshire Police has said it is treating the blaze as suspected arson and South Staffordshire Council are investigating whether the unapproved demolition of the burnt structure breached the Town and Planning Act.

While this fracas has rolled on, the couple at the heart of the storm – 34-year-old owner Carly Taylor and her husband Adam- have removed themselves from the situation and are currently on holiday in a luxury £15,000-a-week villa. 

Yesterday, Mr Taylor refused to respond to requests for a statement about the destruction of the much-loved 18th century pub that was about to become a listed building after he was confronted by a Daily Mail reporter.

Local people have come together to protest against workers removing rubble from the Crooked House 

Protester Emma Smith has designed her own t-shirts and is vowing to stop rubble being removed 

Until August 5 when it mysteriously burnt down and was then bulldozed without council permission, The Crooked House in Himley, Staffs held the title of Britain’s wonkiest pub

Carly and Adam Taylor, the owners of the pub have been enjoying themselves on holiday in Corfu

Previously Taylor – who owns a landfill site next to the inn in Himley, Staffs – had told a reporter to ‘P*** off’ and condemned the outrage surrounding the gutting of the Cooked House as ‘bulls***’.

READ MORE: Owners of Britain’s wonkiest pub refuse to answer questions about ‘arson attack’ as they enjoy another beach day in Corfu… while demolition clean-up is thwarted by protesters back in the UK

He told The Sun: ‘Just p*** off and let us have a holiday away from all the lies and bulls*** in England.

‘There was nothing serious. I’m not getting into discussing it.

‘We didn’t answer anything in the UK because of the police investigation so we’re not f***ing gonna answer anything here, are we?

‘When the police finish their investigation I’ll put a story out then, when I’m ready.’

But while the Taylors enjoy their holiday, local people living close to the smoking wreck of The Crooked House have taken matters into their own hands have pledged to stand in the way of workers trying to clear the site until they have some answers. 

The site has now been fenced off and is patrolled by a security team and dog unit, but a plucky group of protesters have made their precence known regardless. 

Emma Smith has been creating handmade t-shirts against the pub’s destruction and has been at the demolition site since it was knocked down.

She told MailOnline: ‘I’ve been down here since the beginning. I only live less than a minute away.

‘I don’t know what they’re doing, they shouldn’t be touching our bricks. I don’t know what they’re trying to do. Lies and lies.

‘They’ve just had some random people come and just knock it down.

‘It wasn’t one of those pubs that you’d go to every night.

‘We all feel the same about this. We want answers.’

Local people want the pub to be re-built and restored to how it originally looked 

While the Taylor’s are on holiday, the clean-up of the beloved 18th century boozer has started

Emma has been joined in the trenches by 37-year-old Dan Parkes who has warned removal men Black Country folk are tough. 

He said: ‘We’re very fierce folk down here in the Black Country, to be reckoned or messed with.

‘I live three miles away. It’s just been lies from day one. It doesn’t have to be rebuilt here in my opinion, it could be rebuilt at the Black Country museum.

‘It’s obviously private land, but it’s just unreasonable the way it’s been done.

‘The blatant attitude of ‘sod it, lets just destroy’ it regardless of any laws in place.

‘It didn’t need demolishing. The council put an advisory in that the top floor needed replacing but that’s it.

‘The digger they used was hired a week beforehand.

‘I’d been in here many times, since I was four-years-old. You’d come here on a summers day and have a pint.

‘We need accountability. People who have done this need to be held accountable. It’s beyond brazen.

‘I’ve been here from 10pm last night, there was a fair few of us here then, seven or eight. I want to make sure no one damages things.’

It’s not just local people who have been left indignant by the pub’s ignominious ending. 

Emma Smith, 44 (left) and Dan Parkes, 37 (right)  continue to protest outside the scene of the Crooked Pub

Locals have demanded answers as to how the pub came to be destroyed 

Members of the public have erected rugs on the ground and are refusing to move 

Since the pub’s destruction locals have kept a watchful eye on the site 

Tony Hewitt, 60, travelled down from North Staffordshire to view the rubble and stand his ground.

READ MORE: Having a scorcher! Owners of Britain’s wonkiest pub at centre of ‘arson’ probe enjoy spot of paragliding and lunch at a beachside restaurant after jetting off to luxury £2.3m villa in Corfu

Tony, who was born in the area, said: ‘We don’t know which bit Staffordshire District Council allowed to be demolished.

‘Immediately after the fire it was reported that the owners were given permission to take a little bit away, but we don’t know what.

‘This is something we need to know.

‘They didn’t want it to disappear completely or else they would have given the total demolition order, so we need to know why.

‘It’s very historically important.

‘The notion that it can’t be rebuilt on the site, we need a backstop, can it be rebuilt at the Black Country Museum.

‘I really have an interest in this area, I was trying to publish a book on this area. People don’t appreciate how much of this country’s spirit came from this area.’

Protesting the removal of bricks from a scorched site is for many protesters a matter of principle, as they argue that unless there is accountability a local asset will be forever lost. 

60-year-old Tony Hewitt says he is protesting as the pub is ‘very historically important’

Friends Kerry Goodman (left) and Hayley Mason, both 36, have set up camp in the road 

Remnants of the pub including the sign for the car park still remain at the site 

Hayley Mason, 36, a teacher and a history graduate, said: ‘I was here yesterday, in front of the lorries.

‘Yesterday because of rumours on Facebook that skips were being filled with rubble, I felt that I had to do something and head down.

‘I saw a lorry trying to get out so I sat down. I was there for three hours.

‘Yesterday was my first day here, I’ve been following since it kicked off as I did my degree on the industrial revolution in the Black Country.

READ MORE: The Crooked House ‘clean-up’ begins: Workers move onto site of Britain’s wonkiest pub which burned down in ‘arson attack’ after protesters demanding it be rebuilt ‘brick by brick’ block lorry from getting to site

‘For me that’s my dissertation gone up in smoke. How can I teach history if you keep knocking it down.

‘I used to come in here as a child a lot. It was a place I remember from childhood. If it can survive two world wars and an earthquake epicentre literally at the front of it, what gives them the rights.

‘They struggled to pull it down. The videos of them bringing it down was heartbreaking. 

‘We’ve got one person with the group to go and see the documents’

Kerry Goodman, 36, added: ‘We know about world history but we have our own history on our doorstep.

‘When you come with your family you bring your kids down to show them the crooked house pub.

‘People just thought it would be there forever. You take it for granted.

‘The company here has had to come from up north, driving three or four hours.

‘I came down when it first started, then yesterday with my son and then today.’

But while the protesters have camped out rough along the dusty road, the pub’s owners have lived the life of luxury. 

Yesterday Adam Taylor, who was pictured wearing red swimming trunks and wrap-around sunglasses, spent the day snorkelling in the hidden coves of Corfu after hiring a £45-an-hour private speed boat.

Days earlier the couple, from Lutterworth, Leicestershire, were spotted spending wads of cash to go paragliding around a picturesque bay close to the island’s capital.

Despite the anger of former landlords and patrons of the Crooked House pub, the Taylors have been enjoying a millionaire lifestyle at their luxury villa close to Corfu Town.

The couple have been relaxing in the 35-degree Celsius heat in one of the five-bedroom property’s two swimming pools, while council officials debate the future of the popular country pub.

The work of removal firms has been frustrated by the protesters thus far

Mr Taylor  stormed back to his £15,000-a-week villa on the sun-drenched Greek island after he was confronted by a Daily Mail reporter

Andy Taylor and his glamorous jet-setting wife Carly (pictured together) bought the pub two weeks before it went up in flames

Last week the pair enjoyed a day at the beach and a spot of paragliding in Corfu getting away from it all 

Carly, 34 – the last owner of The Crooked House – wore skin-tight bright pink shorts and a bikini top as she paraglided around a popular beach cove

The couple have jetted off for sunnier shores at a £15,000-a-week luxury Corfu villa

The five-star mansion, which has beautiful views of the Mediterranean, is available to rent for around £2,050 (€2,400) per night on holiday rental sites – and it is up for sale for £2.3million (€2.7million).

The stunning three-storey holiday home boasts luxury amenities including two swimming pools, a tennis court, a gym, a BBQ and a pool table.

The 2.7million Euro villa is set on a hill-top in the middle of an ancient olive grove and can accommodate up to 12 guests with its ten bedrooms and five bathrooms.

Residents can while away their time taking tennis lessons at the private court, work out in their own gym, play pool on a table in the bar and swim in the 16-metre outdoor pool or take a dip in the all-weather indoor pool.

A roof garden has its own heated spa, where guests can relax surrounded by spectacular mountain and sea views.

There is a fully equipped kitchen, outside barbecue, a ‘wine conservator’ and food and drinks delivery service for self-catering.

Or the host can lay on a private chef who can cook Greek or international dishes, to cater for all tastes, they promise.

Alternatively, there are two popular high end tavernas within walking distance and a stylish marina – which is also packed with bars and restaurants – a short car or taxi ride away.

It was bulldozed without council permission – to the horror of locals – two days after it was gutted when it went up in flames on August 5

A short walk down the hill leads to a picturesque beach where guests can swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea.

The host can also organise a private boat to take guests to the many secluded bays and remote beaches that make Corfu the destination of choice to the rich and famous.

It is believed the Taylors are spending a week in Corfu, after which they will fly back to the UK to address the pub fire. 

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