THE PUB at the heart of a South Somerset village has been forced to shut permanently due to a falling number of customers since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The Green Dragon in Combe St Nicholas is owned and run by Clair and Vic Coulson.

After the coronavirus lockdown was enforced in March, pubs across the UK were forced to close for 100 days.

Even after they were able to reopen, strict rules were put in place in a bid to stop a second spike in cases of the virus.

After a long wait, The Green Dragon reopened on July 4.

Back it was not just back to business for Clair and Vic, as they had to shut again after one day.

Despite the virus killing thousands of people across the UK, a number of customers refused to take the new precautions seriously.

Hand sanitiser was knocked to the floor and furniture was moved, despite the government setting specific limits on the number of people who could sit together.

Another precaution meant that only one person could use the men's toilets at any one time, and the landlords covered the urinal with black bags to encourage social distancing.

Immediately after closing again, Clair and Vic said: "We shouldn’t be spending our day so upset that we had to close the pub until further notice and are even considering whether it's worth trying to open at all.

"What makes it worse, we have been here four years. We know you, you know us. This isn't strangers. It's members of our own community.

"A kick in the teeth if ever there was one."

The Green Dragon opened again on August 4, and was forced to introduce more regulations as Covid-19 fears remained across the country.

But instead of rallying around at a time when businesses are struggling, Clair and Vic said some customers stopped visiting because the anti-social behaviour had made the press.

The Green Dragon shut again at the weekend, and this time Clair and Vic will not be reopening the doors.

Instead, they have been forced to get new jobs for a source of income.

They said: "People were boycotting us after the paper put about the weeing on urinals - they didn’t like that.

"Not only did some of them boycott us, they told others not to come in," the landlords claimed.

"Covid-19 is not helping, so there are not many eaters coming in," they said.

"That is why we have shut the pub and had to get jobs."

Clair and Vic have owned The Green Dragon for four years, and said the pub has been on the market since 2019.