Sussex pub raid: landlady speaks out

The landlady of a village pub targetted in a terror raid has told how her daughter ‘feared for her life’ during the break-in.

And Becky Illes, landlady of The Green Man in Partridge Green, paid tribute to villagers for their support following her family’s terrifying ordeal.

Nick and Becky Illes, landlords of The Green Man, Partridge Green SUS-191207-133219001

Nick and Becky Illes, landlords of The Green Man, Partridge Green SUS-191207-133219001

Becky said that her daughter Bethany and her partner Jake Cogswell were forced to lock themselves in a bathroom when a gang staged a violent break-in, smashing doors and windows.

The couple armed themselves with a golf club as the gang ransacked the pub’s cellar. “Bethany actually feared for her life,” said Becky.

She said the gang “smashed doors around the building and got into our cellar which is probably the most difficult place to get into.

“They literally got down there and smashed the whole place up.

Bethany Illes and Jake Cogswell SUS-191207-133207001

Bethany Illes and Jake Cogswell SUS-191207-133207001

“We have lost about 300 bottles of wine, spirits, and other drinks.

“What we don’t understand is the motive behind it because they haven’t actually taken anything.”

Becky said that villagers and customers - many of whom regularly visit the pub from Hove, Brighton, Horsham and Haywards Heath - had offered huge support since the break-in.

“They have sent really kind words and have been lovely.” She added: “It has really humbled us and re-enforced our faith in our local community and customers.”

She said the experience had been “a rollercoaster of a ride and has left us wondering just why people would just come in and commit such acts of vandalism and terrify our daughter and her partner in such a manner.

“We can replace all the broken doors, fix and clean our cellar and replenish all the stock that was literally smashed to smithereens, but our main concern was for our daughter and her partner who were really traumatised afterwards - however they have bounced back brilliantly and we are so proud of them both.

“We would just like to reassure everyone that we have been open during all this time - we have had a few guests worried that we have been forced to close - and so please do come and see us as we really would love to see more friendly faces.”

Becky and her husband Nick have been in the pub business since 1993 and have owned various pubs and restaurants in the county. “We’ve never had anything like this happen before which makes it all the more frightening,” said Becky.

Three men have been arrested by police following the break-in.

Couple lock themselves in bathroom during terror raid

Three arrested after pub raid