A pig’s head was pinned to the door of a local pub in a “targeted attack,” police said.
Officers are investigating after a vehicle pulled up at the Coach and Horses in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, at 6.45am on Saturday, and a group of five began vandalising the building.
Two pigs’ heads and several posters accusing two locals of being police informants were left at the scene before the offenders sped off.
Kay Bell, 43, and her wife Deb Doyle, 52, who have run the Coach and Horses in Gateshead for three years, distanced themselves from the incident and the allegations made about two of their regulars.
The owners said Saturday’s events had left them “feeling heartbroken.”
“We would just like everyone to know that we are not associated with the two lads in question apart from them both coming to our family pub for a pint,” the owners said in a statement.
“We will not, under any circumstances, be held responsible or be tarred with any brushes that other people are being accused of.
“We have absolutely no connection to the two males apart from, like every other person that comes into our pub as a customer.”
They told the Newcastle Chronicle their CCTV footage showed five people in balaclavas carrying out the attack.
Gary Firby, 43, said in a post on Facebook that he is one of the men accused of giving information to the authorities. He strongly refutes the claims.
“I am no police informant, and that’s the end of it. It’s totally untrue... I just like a quiet life,” he wrote.
“Let me live in peace instead of this stuff going on. It’s bang out of order. It’s affecting me and my friends’ livelihoods.”
A police spokesperson said: “Officers are investigating a targeted attack at a Birtley pub after it was reported that a vehicle had pulled up outside the premises and a number of people began causing damage.
“The offenders left two pig’s heads at the scene before leaving the area.
“No one was injured, but officers are taking the incident incredibly seriously, and an investigation has been launched.
“Disorder of this nature will not be tolerated, and anyone found to be involved will be dealt with robustly.”