STAFF at an old Bickley pub, reportedly haunted by the spirit of notorious highwayman Dick Turpin, are being terrorised by a ghost.

After two incidents this year, even the sceptical manager of The Chequers pub in Southborough Lane has accepted there may be no other explanation for the strange goings-on.

Robert Stratford, 49, said: "I'm not a big believer in these things, but it seems strange things seem to keep happening here.

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Robert Stratford does not believe in ghosts, but thinks there may be no other explanation for recent events.

"Back in February when we had all that snow, one of the girls who works here, Jaime, was staying overnight because she couldn't get home.

"She was sleeping in the spare bedroom upstairs, in the old part of the pub when, in the middle of the night, at around two or three o'clock, she was woken by footsteps and keys outside the door.

"She initially thought nothing of it as she thought either myself or the assistant manageress had come back for something.

"But then she suddenly remembered not hearing the alarm trigger either downstairs or in the flat upstairs.

"She was quite scared and she was cowering under her sheets.

"Then she felt really cold air on the back of her neck.

"She tried to snuggle into the pillow and she felt someone touching her hair.

"Her hair was moved to the side and someone shouted 'Who are you?'

"She was absolutely terrified but she worked up the courage to get up and turn on the light but when she did no one was there."

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Jaime Smith has vowed never to sleep at the pub again.

Mr Stratford says he and a number of staff and customers have also seen a silhouette of a man at the end of the bar, smoking a pipe.

As well as Dick Turpin, other ghosts believed to be haunting the pub include a French Soldier called Barnard.

Barnard is said to have been brutally knifed to death as he awoke to find people robbing him when he was staying in an upstairs bedroom, and it is he who may have approached Jaime.

Mr Stratford said the assistant manageress, Emma, had a similarly paranormal experience last month.

He said: "At the beginning of August another girl, Emma, was covering running the pub while I was away and she stayed over for a couple of nights.

"Throughout the night the door kept being blown open and she heard footsteps but when she looked out no one was there.

"She ended up pushing her suitcase against the door.

"She went to sleep but was awoken when the case was knocked over and the door pushed wide open.

"Both the girls have said they'll never sleep in the pub again."

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