Wolverhampton's Talisman: WATCH protest at drug raid pub's 'unfair' closure

The closure of a pub described as 'at the heart of an organised crime drug ring' has sparked a protest from its customers.

Wolverhampton's Talisman: WATCH protest at drug raid pub's 'unfair' closure

The Talisman, in Wildtree Avenue, The Scotlands, Wolverhampton was closed at the start of the month when police found crack cocaine, digital scales and bags and wraps of cannabis in the toilets.

Owner Punch Taverns took the action to close it following the police raid.

A licensing sub-committee heard that the air was pungent with the stench of cannabis when 40 officers and sniffer dogs arrived, who also uncovered £800 of herbal cannabis and drug production equipment in the cellar.

But protesters feel the pub is being unfairly represented, and took to the street at the weekend to vent their views.

Engineer Jack Kirwan helped organise the protest. The 30-year-old said: "We just want wanted to show the other side to the pub, there is good and bad everywhere.

"It's a really important part of the community.

"A lot of people don't really understand how important it is to everyone here.

"It has always had a reputation as a tough pub, but it's on a council estate.

"I want to try and dispel the myth that it's as bad as people may think it is."

He added: "There has been a number of charity events over the years. Last year there was a girl whose partner was in hospital needing a heart transplant. We had an event at the pub and people donated things like bouncy castles etc to help out with fundraising and it made over £2,000.

"There is a community group for people with learning difficulties that uses the pub. They go every Monday and Thursday and the landlord provides them with food free of charge. They have Christmas parties there as well which are put on for free.

"The old folks home has its Christmas party there as well.

"We think the pub is being unfairly represented, there are 70-year-old women who drink in there."

He believes The Talisman shouldn't be tarred with the same brush as pubs in the city synonymous with serious crime.

He said: "In comparison to some pubs in Wolverhampton, calling it a crime hotspot is ridiculous.

"The police have probably been out about three times in the last 15 years.

"When you look at other pubs where guns are flying about and people are being stabbed I don't understand it."

On the protest, he said: "We had about 200 people turn up. We had banners and flags which a lot of the kids sorted out. It was a nice, peaceful protest.

"It was quite touching really, but it's sad that it's come to this.

"If the pub goes, I don't know where people will go. People are totally lost without it. My parents met there 40 years ago.

"It's a working class pub for working class people.

"You finish work and you go to the pub. Your friends and family are there, you don't have to ring anybody because you know there will be someone there to talk to.

"It really is at the heart of the community. The have been old ladies in tears because they don't know what they'll do without it.

"It could affect shops and businesses in the area as well."

A petition to save the pub has racked up over 600 signatures already, and the Save The Talisman Facebook group has attracted support from as far afield as Australia.

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