POLICE TAKE HOTEL DOOR
POLICE caused quite a stir when they arrived at the crowded bar of the Royal Oak Hotel at Lidcombe in Sydney’s west one Saturday afternoon with screwdrivers in hand.
Drinkers were surprised when shortly after 3pm on Saturday December 3 1938 a couple of constables and a sergeant arrived with screwdrivers 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, where experts deciphered writing on it. 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, John Smith, labourer, of Lidcombe, was fined £20, in default 40 days’ jail, at Parramatta Court for betting in the Royal Oak Hotel.
According to the police, Smith used the bar door to keep a record of bets made. Interestingly, Smith’s lawyer argued during the hearing that the door should have been produced in court as evidence.
Now that would have made the publican happy!
The Sydney Daily Telegraph 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.