A TOWN centre pub shut down by police after more than 100 travellers and their horses caused mayhem, has now lost its drinks licence.

Members of Bexley Council’s licensing sub-committee took the decision after seeing CCTV footage showing a horse being ridden into the bar at the Cross Keys pub in Erith High Street.

The sub-committee dismissed protestations by licensee Derek McKenzie that he had the situation under control and would not allow a similar incident to occur again.

Bexley police licensing officer PC Eddy Boston said the incident on August 15, in which up to five horses were taken into the pub and horses and ponies-and-traps were driven along Erith High Street against the flow of traffic, was just one of several.

He told last Friday’s licensing sub-committee hearing, complaints had been received about large numbers of travellers drinking at the Cross Keys, and horses being taken into the bar in April, June and in July.

PC Boston said technical problems with the council’s CCTV system prevented him showing the incident on August 15 which led to the pub’s closure, but showed film of a similar situation at the pub in June, where a woman is seen riding a horse into the pub.

He said after the June incident, police had spoken to Mr McKenzie and offered help if he was having problems with travellers, but Mr McKenzie said he could deal with it and it was under control.

Mr McKenzie, 68, said horses brought into the bar were only inside for a matter of seconds because he had forced them out again.

He said he had not demanded the travellers leave because he did not want to create a flashpoint and have his pub smashed up.

He said the travellers had caused no trouble in the pub and pointed out there was no evidence of underage drinking.

Mr McKenzie’s barrister Steven Whale said the police and council had powers to stop the horses racing in the High Street, but had chosen not to take any action.

Mr McKenzie offered extra conditions to keep his licence but the sub-committee said they had no confidence they would be kept.