The fearsome landlady: Kath Duffy runs The Newcastle Packet

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The Independent Online

'The first pub round here closed two to three years ago, when the landlady went bankrupt. That was just the beginning. I've been in my pub for 26 years and being on the seafront, there were the fishermen. But now – well, I look out of the window and I can only see a couple of little boats.

Why are pubs closing down? Because of the supermarkets: as a tenant, I have to buy my beer from the brewery but in the supermarket it's nearly three times cheaper. You can get two cases for £16 while I'm paying around £40.

It's not easy for us; all we're doing now is living. The smoking ban was another nail in the coffin.

I think we will lose the traditional pub. Instead it'll all be wine bars and "superpubs" with massive screens selling cheap beer because they're not tied to a brewery. They can afford to sell at £1.50 a pint – how can you compete with that? On top of that, where people used to come out at eight o'clock at night, they now come at 10pm as everything is open so late. We have a licence until 1am – but there's a big bar in town open until 3am and a casino with a bar open until 6am.

We do what we can, though. We have live music, a piano for a proper sing-song. I don't stand for any trouble in the pub either. We had a problem with gangs going to the joke shop round the corner, buying stinkbombs, and throwing them in the pub. We lost trade immediately. So I went around to the joke shop, bought some stinkbombs and stamped on them right there. "You stole my trade," I said, "now I'm going to steal yours." Things are already hard, but when you get a good day and something like that happens, it's ruined.'

The Newcastle Packet, Sandside, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, tel: 01723 373 080

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