POLICE TAKE HOTEL DOOR
IT was a little draughty in the bar of the Royal Oak Hotel one Saturday afternoon last century after a police raid.
Quite a stir was caused when police arrived with a tool kit at the crowded bar of the Lidcombe pub, in Sydney’s west, on December 3, 1938.
Drinkers were surprised when shortly after 3pm a couple of constables and a sergeant arrived with screwdrivers in hand and began unhinging the main door leading from the bar into the backyard of the pub.
Two constables then carried the door to the police car, and it was taken to the station. According to the police, bookie, John Smith used the bar door to keep a record of bets he took from punters on horse races.
Interestingly, Smith’s lawyer, during his court hearing, argued that the door should have been produced in court as evidence.
Eventually after complaints from the publican that he couldn’t lock his pub up for the night, the police returned with the door, and screwed it back in place.
On Friday January 6 1939, Smith, labourer of Lidcombe, was fined £20, in default 40 days’ jail, at Parramatta Court for taking bets at the Royal Oak Hotel.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported on Monday 5 December 1938:
An hotel door was removed from its hinges on Saturday, and tabulated as a “legal document”. The door was removed from the back entrance of the Royal Oak Hotel, Lidcombe, by Sergeants Donohue and Wright and two constables, of the Anti-SP Betting Squad. At the police station, writing alleged to have been noted on it was recorded. The licensee battened up the entrance until the door was returned a few hours later. A man was later charged with street betting.
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