Simmering tensions between two rival membership organisations spilled over into violence in a tearoom yesterday, according to reports.
The fight, which took place in the Sweet Haven Tea Rooms near West Wittering, began after one National Trust member scoffed at an English Heritage guidebook held by a customer at an adjacent table.
Christopher James, an unemployed spoon bender, described how the scene unfolded, telling us, “I was just sipping my cup of tea and minding my own business, when this group of retirees barrelled noisily into the tearoom, dumping all their waterproofs into a corner and settling into a large table by the window.
“One of them had a National Trust hat on, so you could tell they were troublemakers looking for a fight, and lo and behold, when a few ramblers came through the door holding an English Heritage guidebook, I knew it was going to kick off big time.”
He continued, “The leader of the National Trust gang, who I later learned was named Colin, scoffed at the English Heritage gang, and made a derogatory remark about the low quality and variety of English Heritage venues compared to National Trust ones, and before I knew where I was there were punches being thrown.
“Someone got slashed with a butter knife – which naturally failed to draw blood – but another did had a scone stuffed into their mouth. It was brutal, but didn’t last that long before both parties pulled back to their tables and resumed their afternoon teas.”
In response to the incident, police have reportedly stepped up the targeted Stop And Search of couples wearing matching waterproofs.