‘I’ve done nothing wrong’: Firm that hired out demolition equipment to Crooked House owners denies involvement

10 August 2023, 22:17 | Updated: 11 August 2023, 00:21

The owner of the plant firm that provided the equipment has denied any involvement.
The owner of the plant firm that provided the equipment has denied any involvement. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The owner of the plant company that hired out the equipment used to demolish ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ has denied any involvement in the incident.

The 18th-century building, known as 'Britain's wonkiest pub', was damaged by a fire on Saturday before swiftly being taken down by a digger just days later.

Staffordshire police confirmed on Wednesday that the pub fire, which was based in Dudley, West Midlands is being treated as arson.

In a statement, the force said: “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."

Following the demolition of the historic site, the company that hired out the equipment to the pub’s new owners has denied any wrongdoing or involvement in its destruction.

Lyndon Thomas, owner of Lyndon Thomas Group, said that while his firm provided the excavator used, none of his men were involved in the demolition itself.

“If you give me your insurance and all your details and I deliver [equipment] to you and then you just tried to knock down your neighbour's building, what can I do? I have done nothing wrong,” he told Construction News.

“We just hire a digger to a customer. I can’t be responsible for what they do with the machinery.”

Read more: Locals take 'souvenirs' from Crooked House pub days after mystery fire that destroyed building

Read more: Couple who bought Crooked House weeks before it was destroyed previously stripped out other village's only pub

Read more: Ex-landlord toasts Crooked House after 'wonkiest' boozer is demolished as calls grow for it to be rebuilt brick-by-brick

The pub was demolished just two days after it burnt down in suspected arson.
The pub was demolished just two days after it burnt down in suspected arson. Picture: Alamy

Some 30 firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze at the pub in Himley, near Dudley in the West Midlands, on Saturday evening and it was demolished two days later.

Its destruction outraged locals and police are investigating the blaze, which happened two weeks after Marston's brewery sold it to a company in Warwickshire.

The new owners were identified by MailOnline as Carly Taylor, 34, and her husband Adam, 44, who bought The Crooked House last month.

The developers faced calls to rebuild the landmark pub "brick by brick" before it was demolished.

The firm owner Mr Thomas revealed the incident has resulted in some “horrific” emails and comments online.

“They are not very nice. We’ve had a lot of people ringing the phone and putting it down again.

"If I knew this was going to happen I probably would have done something different, but I'm not Mystic Meg.”

It comes after it today emerged that Marco Longhi, MP for Dudley North, is launching a campaign to allow police to take premises under their control while investigations into potential crimes are being carried out.

Mr Longhi said: "Staffordshire Police have said that they did not have the power to stop the owner of the Crooked House from demolishing the ruins following an arson.

"Agencies should be given the power to take the premises under their control while [an] investigation is being carried out.”

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