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Landlord claims small pub near Suffolk is first in UK to stop taking cash payments

The Boot pub in Freston near Ipswich, Suffolk, claims to be the first in Britain to go cashless. Credit: PA

A traditional pub has become the first in Britain to go cashless, its landlord has claimed.

There are no tills at The Boot in Freston near Ipswich, Suffolk, and customers must pay by card or phone.

There is no minimum spend per transaction.

The 1530s pub had been derelict for nine years before new landlord Mike Keen took it on and it was refurbished.

Mr Keen, 49, who re-opened the pub 12 weeks ago, said: "The benefits of going cashless are huge."

Mike Keen, landlord of The Boot pub. Credit: PA

He said he researched other cashless businesses before opening and found few negatives.

The landlord said some delis had gone cashless and at least one bar in Manchester, but no traditional pubs before The Boot.

"Cash has always been a pain ... You’ve got problems with theft," Keen said.

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

He added of his claim to be Britain’s first cashless pub: "You would expect it to be in London, but we pipped them to the post."

The Boot in Freston, Suffolk dates back to the 1530s. Credit: PA

He said the decision to go cashless means his insurance premiums are lower as cash is not kept on the premises.

The pub, which has a 12-seater cinema in an outbuilding, is focused on food and Mr Keen said there was around a 60-40 split on food versus drink sales.

He said card payments cost him up to 1.5% per transaction.

The system of card machines is backed up with dongles in case there are problems with the internet connection, Mr Keen said, adding: "We’ve used them but we haven’t gone down yet."

"If there was a negative it would be some people who are used to paying with cash are a bit taken aback when they haven’t got the option, but everyone has a bank account," he said.