A PUB landlord has apologised after telling a man to 'go back to his benefits' during an online argument

Punters criticised the Royal Standard in Wallingford for the disrespectful comments made on social media last week.

The squabble all started when the St Mary’s Street pub posted on Facebook that people under 25 would no longer be allowed on the premises in the evenings after trouble allegedly caused by some of its younger customers.

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This prompted an argument, with many people attacking the pub's decision.

In response to one colourful comment, the pub wrote: "You have resorted to swearing Steve, this is usually a good sign that you are losing the argument.

“Go back to your benefits and council house chap, there is a good boy.”

A Wallingford resident who wishes to remain anonymous contacted the Oxford Mail over the ‘out of order’ exchange.

He said: “I do not think it is acceptable to be making comments like that on a licensed business Facebook page.

“I have not been in the Royal Standard for years but in this current climax he should not be writing things like this.”

The man explained the argument began when one man said it was ‘discriminatory’ to not let people under 25 in the pub.

There were at least 40 messages between Facebook users under the controversial comments.

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Royal Standard landlord David Haines has now admitted he posted the comment and said he ‘was not right’ to respond like that.

The publican said: "I was trying to be reasonable and objective but I felt forced into a position.

"I was not right to say it – but I come from the same background myself.”

The Royal Standard reopened on July 4 with new safety measures in place, but said it immediately started having trouble with some younger customers not socially distancing.

Mr Haines' original Facebook post said: “Please not that from 8pm tonight we will be implementing an over 25s only rule in the evenings.

“This is because the last three nights have seen us attract unprecedented numbers of younger drinkers who are refusing to adhere to any social distancing rules which in the current climate is putting both our staff and our regular customers at risk."

The pub apologised to those affected unnecessarily and said it would review the ban periodically.