Brewery held to ransom by travellers, court hears

A brewery was held to ransom by a group of travellers who invaded the site and demanded £20,000 to leave, a court was told this week.

Thwaites Brewery bosses held to ransom by travellers, court hears

Around 100 travellers broke into the Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn on the Friday evening of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (26 May) and set up camp, Preston Crown Court heard. Within hours the leader, Thomas Ward, had demanded a cash payment of £20k from brewery bosses for the group to leave the site within 24 hours.

He is alleged to have said: “£20,000 today or the place is ours”.

CEO Richard Bailey negotiated 24 hours to raise the money, but after the police and employees visited the site the following day the court heard that Ward decided he was not going to be paid and agreed with two other men to break into the building and cause criminal damage.

Police eventually got control of the site two days later and escorted the travellers out, but by then around £250,000 worth of damage had been inflicted, with 4.5 tonnes of cabling stripped out and the brewery’s office trashed, with memorabilia, computers, cash and personal effects stolen, the Lancashire Telegraph reported.

Around 1,700 pints of beer also had to be poured away for fear of contamination.

Ward admitted to blackmailing Bailey with menaces, and along with two other men, admitted to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit criminal damage at the Brewery.

The brewery has since relocated to a new purpose built brewery and 12-acre HQ in Mellor Brook.

2 Responses to “Brewery held to ransom by travellers, court hears”

  1. Michel Souris says:

    Scum of the earth

  2. Tim Clarke says:

    The police acted!
    Unheard of.

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