WITH the Christmas festivities approaching, a country pub near Upton has come up with a novel way to beat drink driving by putting up tents for revellers to sleep it off.

The Drum and Monkey in Newbridge Green has set up four large tents in its beer garden – dubbed the Drunk Tank – offering drinkers who have had too many to drive a free place to spend the night.

Landlady Lizzie Jennings said she had come up with the idea when talking about how to discourage customers from driving while over the limit with regular Daniel Walton, who runs camping manufacturer Olpro, based in Little Witley.

“We are a mile outside Upton town centre and we are certainly a destination pub so I do worry about my customers driving home,”

she said.

“It’s not that people come in and get absolutely blotto before driving home but some people might think they can risk it as there aren’t often that many police around here.

“It’s just not worth taking the risk.”

She said four large tents with mattresses, nightlights and a toilet tent had been set up. There is space for 19 people. Customers were even being offered a mug of tea and a bacon sandwich in the morning. “Whether 19 people take up that offer or not I don’t know, but it’s nice the offer’s there,” she said.

“It’s nice to be able to do something for them.

“I’m not doing this as a money spinner – it’s just a way of keeping my customers safe and looking out for each other.”

The pub had been closed for some time before Lizzie took it over eight months ago after working in a Birmingham dental practice.

Mr Walton – who has been running Olpro for two years – said he was pleased to be able to help out with the scheme, which began this week and will run until New Year’s Day.

“It was mostly Lizzie’s idea really but she knew what I did for a job so I said I would be able to help,” he said.

“There is a temptation in places like this to drive after having a few drinks so hopefully we can stop this.

“We are doing this to see if it will work – if it’s a success we could extend it next year or even into the summer.”