by our crime correspondent Vince-Sendiary de Vice
Tens of disgruntled alcoholics were today mourning the loss of their favourite drinking hole as Wirral firemen struggled to extinguish its smouldering remains.
Emergency services were called out to New Brighton's fashionable Victoria Rd. district early this morning to find its most popular drinking establishment consumed by fire.
Reports that the fire was set by a local thug were confirmed by onlookers drinking in the pub at the time.
The pub, Peggy O'Fuckery's, owned by one-time Blackwater op and Mersey fisheries specialist, Filmore Loons, of Lower Expectation Rd., Seacombe, claims that the fire was caused by a local man who had been refused alcohol on a number of previous occasions.
The man, a former welder on the soon-to-be-demolished NewboDome, had become marginally disenfranchised when his demands for a final pint had been denied. Minutes later, the conflagration occurred, spreading throughout the bar and to the relaxation area outside.
'Customers are well aware that we do not allow smoking on the premises', said Loons, 45, from the safety of his blog today. 'So, it was quite a surprise to see large flaming sections of the building's historic roof fall in on the regulars still imbibing at the time'.
The police, who rushed to the scene of the crime five hours later, were said to be looking for a man in his early thirties sporting a distinctive red and yellow hair-cut, last seen running screaming down Victoria Rd and into the Mersey.
Local cockle pickers were sent to the river to search for the body.
Peggy's, whose reputation in the neighborhood has stabilised since the police were called in to quell anti-chem trail riots earlier this year, won the Pub of the Year award in 1922 for its elegantly-distressed interior.
However, may local residents have expressed delight at the pub's demise, citing debris left by carousing revellers intent on after-hours mayhem. Others, however, are dismayed to see the landmark hostelry destroyed and mourn the passing of the legendary boozer.
'Without Peggy's, there will be very little for pensioners and teenagers in the area to do', complained Margaret 'Flaps' McGuigan, a 55 year-old ex-delicatessen manageress from nearby Waterloo Rd.
'To date, one in five of New Brighton residents have been conceived on the premises. It's loss will be a tragic blow to many in the community'.
However, a scheme that enables funding from a 'twinned' town has been considered. Unfortunately, New Brighton is twinned with Nosbeki, a town 200 miles from Uganda, that was tragically burned to the ground by rebel forces at the weekend.