A THATCHED pub in Chudleigh is being sold after its landlord was jailed for fraudulent trading.

The Highwayman’s Haunt on Exeter Road, now closed and sealed off, is on the market for just under £500,000 in the wake of businessman James Rowe being locked up for more than two years.

Some staff who worked for him at the town pub remain unpaid, a matter which has fuelled resentment locally.

One dad said: ‘My lad worked in the kitchen – and he was owed pay. I know another employee who took the landlord to the small claims court where he paid up.’

Rowe, whose business interests included double glazing and conservatories, was meted his jail term at Bristol Crown Court last month after admitting trading fraudulently. He changed his not guilty plea to guilty on the day of the hearing.

The matters, the climax of a three-year probe by Trading Standards, related to long delays, errors and additional costs incurred by customers left thousands of pounds out of pocket.

The court heard that Rowe had since made payments to his victims to compensate them for their losses.

Chudleigh town and district councillor Richard Keeling, now Teignbridge Council chairman, told the Mid-Devon Advertiser: ‘It was a shock that the pub closed after he was sent to prison because it employed quite a few local people, many of them part-time.’

He added: ‘The place has been neglected a bit over the years. All we can do now is hope the Highwayman’s Haunt sells soon with whoever takes it on giving some boost to local employment.’

The Greene King hostelry is being marketed by Bath-based agents James A Baker for £495,000.

At the moment access to the inn is blocked off by concrete barriers lined across the access road.