A SEASIDE community that was once the smuggling capital of Yorkshire has reverted to type after a licensing mix-up saw four of its pubs run dry.
Robin Hood’s Bay, whose coastal isolation and marshy surroundings helped keep the excise men at bay in the 18th century, has seen revellers taking to the streets with bottles after the pubs were told to stop selling alcohol.
The Bay Hotel, Laurel Inn, The Fylingdales and The Dolphin were told on Tuesday that their drinks licences had expired, following the death last year of local businessman Robert Tucker, who ran all four.
His daughter Becky said on Facebook: “After our father passed away, during the wait for probate, there have been some unforeseen circumstances that have affected the transference of the premises’ licences. Therefore, our pubs are temporarily unable to sell alcohol. We are so sorry for this huge inconvenience.”
Customers at three of the pubs were told they could bring their own alcohol during the enforced prohibition.
Meanwhile, Lisa Winder, of the aptly-named and still-licensed Smugglers’ Bistro, has been helping to tide the pubs over.
She said: “I am friendly with The Bay and people have been ordering food there, then coming over here to get bottles to take back with them.
“It’s like smuggling has returned to Robin Hood’s Bay. It was a bit of a shock to everyone, but we’ve pulled together.”
The new found spirit of co-operation is a far cry from the town’s past, when bolt-holes were to be found in every ginnel, and bay wives poured boiling water from their bedroom windows over the excise men. The gentry and even clergymen were implicated.
It is expected to be another week before the pubs are able to secure emergency licences.