FRUSTRATED pub regulars are set to protest over a strict phone ban at a pub in Bradford city centre.

The Shoulder of Mutton, owned by Tadcaster-based Samuel Smith’s Brewery, enforced the rule for all electronic devices last November but regulars say it creates a “tense atmosphere”.

One local said many people had ditched the pub out of principle.

A sign on the pub’s wall says mobile phones, iPads, laptops, tablets and other “transmission/reception devices” are not allowed to be used inside the pub, and specifies: “The ban includes receiving or sending texts, taking or viewing photographs, emailing, using games, apps, Google, Facebook, Messenger, etc. We want our traditional pub to be a haven for social conversation” .

Protesters, who say it is not a fight with the managers but with the brewery, are planning a mass call-in which will echo the sound of ringtones around the room.

Arif Iqbal, who has visited the pub for over 30 years, told the Telegraph & Argus: “We don’t want to harm the brewery, we want our freedom.

“They are having difficulty enforcing this. Every day there’s a bit of a commotion.

“Many people stopped coming here. To me it doesn’t make economic sense. This place used to be heaving. It must be damaging.

“Me and my friends, we’ve been coming here on a regular basis. We’d like to have our pub back.

“I would say the staff here bear the brunt of it.”

He said he now had to go to a different pub to meet some of his friends who find the rule “silly”.

One customer said there should be no difference between reading a newspaper in print or reading articles on a phone.

The man, a self-employed web designer and DJ who likes to catch up on emails in venues such as the pub, described the decision as “quite antiquated”.

The customer, who did not wish to be named, said: “People read newspapers or books.

“It’s silly in this day and age.

“I work for myself. I’m a DJ so I promote my work online. I can’t do that while I’m sat in the pub.

“I feel like they’re trying to close off the pub to the older generation but even the older generation have got smartphones.

“This is my mum’s local pub. When I finish work I meet with my mum here.

“It’s become very difficult to get hold of her.

“In Bradford, how many pubs have closed in the past couple of years? That’s not down to putting in rules.

“It’s the brewery and the people that run that that need to be held accountable for closing off the pub for the younger people.”

He said that recently staff had been seen wearing T-shirts warning people not to use electronic devices.

Another regular, who has visited the pub for 35 years, said: “It’s very annoying not getting text messages or being able to check up on the news or even to receive the odd phone call. I suppose eventually you get used to rules.”

The pub is not the first locally to bring in a phone ban.

The Butchers Arms in Pudsey, a Samuel Smith’s pub, also has a ban on both electronic devices and swearing.

The manager of the Shoulder of Mutton declined to comment.

Samuel Smith’s Brewery was contacted for comment.