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Convicted Tipperary Drug Smuggler Linked To Demolition Of British Landmark Pub.

The demolition of Britain’s wonkiest Midland pub, known as ‘The Crooked House’, situated at Coppice Mill, Himley, Staffordshire, U.K.; following a suspected arson attack, which ripped through the building on August 5th last, has been greeted by angry outrage. The building was also known as “Siden House”, (siden” meaning “crooked” in Black Country dialect.)

The historic dwelling was erected in 1765 as an 18th-century farmhouse, before it was converted into a pub in the 1830s. It was sold in July 2023, and on August 5th was gutted by fire, before two days later it was totally demolished. Police are treating the fire as arson, and investigations are ongoing to establish the circumstances of the fire itself and also the lawfulness of the demolition.

The director of a company that hired a digger to demolish The Crooked House has now been identified as convicted Tipperary drug smuggler, Mr Morgan McGrath.

Mr McGrath, aged 51, formerly from Breansha, Co. Tipperary, was jailed for 12 years in 2004, for his part in a £20 million international drug smuggling operation, and on being released from prison, moved to reside in the UK.

Mr McGrath together with Mr Michael Howard of Knocktoran, Elton, Co Limerick, had previously both pleaded guilty to charges relating to their attempt to import, into Ireland, 591,180 Ecstasy tablets, 198kg of Cannabis resin, 48kg of Heroin, 602,000 Temazepam tablets and 132kg of Amphetamine (speed); latter hidden underneath the false lead-lined floor of trailers carrying vegetables. Both men had pleaded guilty before Monaghan Circuit Court to charges of conspiring to import the drugs, which then had an estimated street value of some €22.5m, between the dates August 1st and August 31st, 2002.

In July 2005, both men were both jailed for 12 years, for their involvement in one of the biggest drug hauls to be intercepted by police in Europe, and who later had their sentences reduced to 8 years by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Just like the destruction of the Great Famine ‘Double Ditch’ here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary; the destruction of this red brick built, landmark pub, which owed its name due to its lopsidedness, (latter caused by a subsidence linked to certain mining activities), has now brought 258 years of history to an abrupt end.
However, unlike the historic Thurles ‘Double Ditch’, in the case of ‘The Crooked House’, latter has been greeted nationally by an angry public meeting, supported by local politicians demonstrating utter outrage at its demolition.

The fire occurred just 9 days after being purchased by ATE Farms, a company controlled by Mrs Carly Taylor, whose husband, Mr Adam Taylor is a former director of the company that runs the landfill site adjacent to the historic pub which also mysteriously caught fire .

Mr McGrath is the director of AT Contracting & Plant Hire, which hired a digger to destroy the remains of the pub, without permission, just two days after it was destroyed in the mystery blaze. The owner of the digger has confirmed that he rented the same vehicle to the firm, prior to the fire destroying the historic building.
Mr McGrath and Mr Adam Taylor are the only two active directors of AT Contracting & Plant Hire, which provides the diggers, excavators and other heavy machinery used in the quarries and landfill sites linked to the Taylors across the country.

Fire crews from Staffordshire and West Midlands which raced to the fire scene, found making access extremely difficult, due to the 8-foot (2.4m) mounds of dirt, blocking the only access lane way to the burning building.

It should be noted that Mr McGrath has denied any knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the historic landmark pub, and neither the Taylors nor Mr McGrath are suspected of acting illegally.

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