A publican in Suffolk claims to be running the first pub in the UK to stop taking cash payments.

The Boot in Freston, near Ipswich, run by licensee Mike Keen, now only offers customers payment through their card or by smartphone.

He said the main reason for going cashless were the business benefits, including lower insurance premiums, as there is no money on the premises.

Currently he pays around 1.5 per cent per card transaction.

Mike claims to be the first pub as although he is aware of a bar in Manchester, as well as several cafes and delicatessens, there are no traditional pubs like The Boot who have opted for such a route.

He told the Press Association: "Cash has always been a pain. You've got problems with theft.

"The banks charge a fortune for you to pay cash in, they take a cut of everything you pay in.

"You have to organise change, go into town, park, queue up which is another security risk or pay a firm like Securicor to pick it up.

"The bottom line is so hard we have to take advantage where we can."

Like many rural pubs in recent times, The Boot – which has a history back to the 1530s - had been derelict for nine years before a full refurbishment by Mike.

Being in a rural environment meant that Mike was also conscious of connectivity issues with the internet, so card machines are backed up with dongle devices – although he said that there were no issues.

He said some locals that had used cash previously were ‘taken aback’ but ‘everyone has a bank account’.

Mike said the public would think the first cashless pub ‘would be in London’ but he had ‘pipped them to the post’.

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