A PUB landlord has been found guilty of sexually assaulting three barmaids by pushing their wages into their cleavages.

Peter Hayball was convicted of only three of 13 charges he faced at Exeter Crown Court at the end of a week-long trial.

He was acquitted of a series of alleged assaults on a fourth employee who said he had touched her and put ice inside her bra while they were running an outside bar in a village near Taunton.

Hayball was the landlord of a pub in Devon which ran outside bars all around the area, including the Teign Valley, East Devon, and St Austell in Cornwall.

He told the jury that banter and ‘Carry On’ humour had been mistaken for sexual advances.

He denied most of the specific allegations and said other incidents had been misunderstandings.

The three counts of which he was convicted all involved touching the breasts of female staff while putting their wages into their tops.

Hayball, aged 56, of Crossways, South Chard, denied 13 counts of sexual assault against four different women and was found guilty of three offences all against different victims.

Recorder Mr Christopher Quinlan, QC, adjourned sentence until April 29 and ordered a probation report. He released Hayball on bail.

During the trial, the four women told the jury he assaulted them in a variety of ways, including slapping bottoms, brushing past their breasts in the bar, and putting their wages into their bras.

They said they found the 20-stone landlord creepy and lecherous.

Hayball, who left the pub last year but still runs an outside catering business from his home on the Devon-Somerset border, denied all the individual allegations.

He said he had patted one of the women on the bottom as ‘banter’ and touched another’s breast after she pushed it into his hand while chatting about breast enlargement.

He denied pushing wages into their tops as a ruse to touch their breasts.

He said: ‘I never did it. I never tried to put my hand down their tops. I did not touch or grope them. I have not sexually assaulted any of them. None at all, no.

‘I am a gentleman and I am respectful to other people’s personal space.’

He denied all the allegations made by the youngest complainant, who worked for him at the village hall event on the outskirts of Taunton.

He said he had carried the woman out of the van because he was worried about her slipping, that she had shown him her nipple during a discussion about piercings, and guided her head from under the table to stop her bumping it.

He said he had not put ice down her top or put her wages down his trousers at the end of the evening.