Bitter reception in Preston for pub ban on mobile phones

Blue Bell regular John Dewhurst
Blue Bell regular John Dewhurst

A brewery’s plan to bar mobile phones from its pubs  is getting a bitter reception at Preston’s only Samuel Smith’s alehouse.

Regulars at the Blue Bell Inn in Church Street have slammed the new ruling as “potty,” with most vowing to keep on texting despite warnings they could be ordered out.

The Blue Bell pub in Church Street, Preston.

The Blue Bell pub in Church Street, Preston.

Owner Humphrey Smith, 73, who already bans music, TV and swearing in his 200 pubs, has told managers they must not allow mobiles, laptops and tablets to be used on the premises because he sees them as anti-social and conversation stoppers.

In a memo to all licensees he said: “The brewery’s policy is not to allow customers to use mobile phones, laptops or similar inside our pubs.

"If a customer receives a call then he or she should go outside to take it in the same way as is required with smoking.”

Drinkers in the Blue Bell almost choked on their beer when the Post told them their local would soon be a no-go zone for mobiles.

“I like a pub where you can have a conversation without the jukebox or TV blaring out - but banning mobiles is taking it a bit far,” said John Dewhurst.

After taking a call standing at the bar, Paul Burns said: “Mobile phones are a necessity. That call I just took was important.”

And another added: “I wouldn’t mind, but the reception here is poor anyway. Sometimes you have to go outside to get a decent signal.”

The Church Street alehouse is the only Sam Smith’s hostelry in Preston. A spokesperson at the pub said: ‘It’s company policy and we will be doing our best to enforce it.’

The Tadcaster-based brewery has said it will not comment on the matter.