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Police have launched a criminal investigation after the Essex pub at the centre of the golliwog dolls controversy has had its doors and windows smashed in.
Essex Police was called after five windows and a door were damaged at the White Harts Inn in Grays, Essex, with some graffiti also reported on the premises in the early hours of Sunday (April 16) morning.
The pub and its owners recently made headlines across the UK after police seized a collection of golliwog dolls on April 4 as part of an investigation into an alleged hate crime.
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The dolls, which are based on blackface and minstrels, are widely seen as racist caricatures of black people.
District Commander Tony Atkin said that the alleged hate crime may be linked to the Sunday attack, but added that it was just “one line of enquiry” that police are working on.
An Essex Police spokesperson asked members of the public to contact the force if they have any information regarding the attack on the pub, EssexLive reported.
Despite the dolls’ history, the pub’s landlady Benice Ryley has since brought together a replacement collection of the dolls.
“I’m getting a notice printed saying ‘We’ve got gollies on display, if you find this offensive please don’t come in’. If they don’t like them they can walk out the door,” she said.
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She claimed that supporters have sent in several dolls since her sick collection was taken from her, saying: “When people started complaining in 2018, I was sent more gollies in the post. Three have come in the last few days and there are two more in the post.”
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the hate crime allegation, her husband, Christopher, who is the pub’s licensee, will be interviewed by police next month when he gets back from the couple’s holiday home in Turkey.
The couple have previously denied they are racist, though when asked about her husband being photographed in a T-shirt from the far-right group Britain First, Benice said: “I don’t think Chris is a supporter of Britain First, he was just wearing that shirt because it was convenient at the time.”
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