Pub owners at centre of golly dolls row give police interview after having collection seized

19 May 2023, 01:37 | Updated: 19 May 2023, 02:01

The White Hart Inn pub in Grays, Essex, has been vandalised following seizure of the offensive dolls.
The White Hart Inn pub in Grays, Essex, has been vandalised following seizure of the offensive dolls. Picture: Facebook

By Emma Soteriou

Two former pub managers have given a voluntary interview to Essex Police after their collection of golly dolls was seized by the force.

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Five officers removed around 30 dolls from the White Hart Inn in Grays on April 4, with the pub having since closed down.

Police were waiting for landlord Chris Ryley and his wife Benice Ryley to return from abroad to speak to them, with the force confirming an interview took place on Thursday.

Mr Ryley declined to comment.

A police spokesperson said: "Two people, a man and woman, have been interviewed voluntarily as part of our investigation.

"Our investigation continues to progress."

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Just two days after the police intervention at the pub, the building was hit by vandals.

It was covered in white paint and had its windows smashed.

Police opened an investigation into the reported hate crime, which they said is still ongoing
Police opened an investigation into the reported hate crime, which they said is still ongoing. Picture: Facebook

Ms Ryley closed the pub for good on May 1, saying she had faced a boycott by brewing companies as well as maintenance firm Innserve.

Heineken and Carlsberg told the couple to stop serving its lager, with Heineken labelling the collection as an "abhorrent display".

A spokesman said of the pub: “After being made aware of the abhorrent display feature in the White Hart Inn, we advised the pub owners that we want nothing more to do with them.

“They go against everything we stand for.

"We believe pubs should be places of inclusivity and respect for all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion or gender."

Read more: Pub at centre of golly dolls row shuts for good as owners move to home in Turkey

Elaborating on the decision to close the pub in an interview with Thurrock Nub news, Ms Ryley said: “I’ve had enough.

“We’ve had a few bits of hate, which I personally don’t understand because it’s part of our life.

“The young people these days don’t understand.”

The couple are now planning to move to their holiday home in Turkey, it is understood.

Admirals Taverns, the company that owned the pub building, said it intended to reopen the venue under new management.

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