Two Leeds pubs could ban cash after spate of terrifying robberies

Two pubs are considering stopping taking cash after ‘terrifying’ armed raids on Leeds boozers.

By Joe Cooper
Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 10:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 11:47 am
Scott Westlake, landlord of the Myrtle Tavern in Meanwood.
Scott Westlake, landlord of the Myrtle Tavern in Meanwood.

Scott Westlake, the landlord of the Myrtle Tavern, has asked customers for their views on moving to a card only system at the Meanwood establishment and its sister pub The White Swan, Yeadon.

A statement on the Myrtle Tavern’s Facebook page said: “After last night’s terrifying attack on the Skyrack and our robbery two weeks ago, following an armed robbery The Myrtle had five years ago, I am proposing to go cashless as a business at the pub and cafe, and our pub in Yeadon.

“Although this seems extreme, we have the safety our own lives and the lives of staff and in some cases customers that we see as the utmost important factor.”

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The post has asked whether customers would still visit the pub is cash was no longer an option.

Robbers armed with a knife, hammer and an axe ambushed staff at the Skyrack in Headingley in the early hours of Monday morning - while one staff member’s baby was still inside.

The men gathered together the six staff before gaining access to the office at the St Michael’s Road pub and stealing cash from the safe.

They escaped in what was thought to be a grey BMW 1 Series hatchback.

It comes just weeks after the Myrtle Tavern itself was targeted.

Mr Westlake was forced to lock himself upstairs with his partner as hooded armed raiders smashed their way in and snatched a safe just after midnight on Monday February 11.

Alison White, the owner of Indian street food chain The Cat's Pyjamas, said last month that her businesses were going cashless, citing security concerns and convenience.

The chain has sites on Eastgate and in Headingley - where a staff member was recently mugged outside - and recently opened a takeaway on New Briggate.

She said at the time: "There has been a spate of robberies in Leeds targeting small businesses such as Mexican restaurant, El Marchador, which is across the road from our new takeaway and was broken into recently for cash.

"Hospitality staff are particularly vulnerable to break-ins and robberies when they are on their way to deposit money in the bank.

"Now that one of our own employees has been targeted, we believe the simplest way we can safeguard our employees is to stop them having to deal with cash. So, we have taken the decision to only accept card payments across the whole chain from next week.”