A SOUTHAMPTON pub at the centre of a vicious firebomb attack involving rival gangs has been put up for sale.

The Castle was targeted when a mob of nine youths burst in, armed with a handgun and a Molotov cocktail, believing their enemies to be inside.

Investigators said it was only down to luck that the petrol bomb failed to ignite and the gunman failed to discharge his weapon - saving up to 30 lives.

However, it did not stop a judge from sentencing the brutal gang to a total of nearly 30 years behind bars for the attack last December.

Now the landlord of the pub in Witts Hill has decided to put the building on the market and take his family elsewhere.

Sean Brady said he was glad that the gang had been brought swiftly to justice, but added that the attack on his establishment had not been a factor in his decision to uproot.

He said: "What happened in December was dealt with by the police very quickly in the end. The people who did it were brought to justice and are thankfully serving long sentences. It all got resolved pretty quickly.

"I have talked to people who come in here and they say the area is nicer now that they have been sent to jail.

"My decision is nothing to do with that night. There are good hard-working people around here and anyone who comes to work here will like the area, I'm sure."

Mr Brady, a former general secretary of the train drivers' union Aslef, and his wife Jane were busy serving 30 customers when the chaotic scene unfolded in front of them.

Witnesses described the "pandemonium" after petrol leaked from the bomb and caught fire by the bar.

The gang of eight males and one female, all aged 18 to 24 and from Thornhill, were arrested and all pleaded guilty to either arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, or violent disorder.

Mr and Mrs Brady are now planning for a life away from the industry. Mr Brady said: "It's just that I've got young children and I'm not sure that a pub is the ideal place for them to grow up. There's a lot of noise the whole time.

"Working at a pub was only ever a stop-gap thing for me anyway and now it is two-and-a-half years down the line. We're moving for a lifestyle change more than anything."

The couple's estate agent is seeking £145,000 for the leasehold interest in The Castle.