Residents angry after town's only pub shut down

Kumara residents are thirsty - and angry.

From its goldmining heyday, when the West Coast township had a tally of 50 pubs, it now has none after the Liquor Licensing Authority cancelled the licence of Empire Hotel publican Peter Jenkinson.

The pub's closure has turned some thirsty residents against woodturner Carey Dillon, who campaigned to have the pub closed down, the Press reported.

Mr Dillon, whose store and home is diagonally opposite the Empire on the main road supplied the authority with videos showing patrons drinking and smoking on the street outside the pub. He appeared at the authority's hearing as an objector.

The authority described several cases of drunken behaviour caught on camera.

In cancelling the licence and Mr Jenkinson's manager's certificate, the authority said: "We have seldom heard a worse summary of the previous 18 months in terms of the manner in which the sale of liquor has been conducted."

Several agencies, including police and Ministry of Health, supported the application to shut down the pub.

Kumara residents yesterday defended the antics, saying the town, with a population of 405, was a close-knit community where there was no trouble because everyone knew everyone else.

Some residents criticised Mr Dillon.

"No one else in town minds," said one man.

John MacLennan, who is applying for a new licence for the pub, said Mr Dillon could be seen "running round with his video camera" after midnight on some nights.

Mr Dillon was unable to be contacted yesterday, and his home and shop were locked.

Mr MacLennan said the new licence had been applied for, and he hoped the pub would reopen early next month.

- NZPA

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