HE FOUGHT the smoking ban and reputedly fell out with Michael Winner, but now infamous landlord Gerry Stonhill has retired.

Mr Stonhill has owned the Mason Arms in South Leigh, near Witney, for 18 years — but he has now put the freehold on the market for £895,000.

The pub — Gerry Stonhill’s Individual Mason Arms and Cuban Cigar Club, to give it its full title — has been acclaimed by celebrity chefs and has its own helicopter landing pad.

It closed at the beginning of the month.

During a very brief interview, Mr Stonhill said: “I’m retiring, and it’s closed and for sale.

“If you want to know anything about it, ring my agent.”

Mr Stonhill famously flouted the smoking ban at the Mason Arms and was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £5,750 in 2008.

On leaving court, he told The Oxford Times that former Prime Minister Tony Blair could “stick his anti-smoking law up his a***”.

He later joked that the payments were “nothing much to a rich man” and that he had “paid that out of a bag of loose change that I had lying about”.

The Mason Arms website reads: “Due to the pathetic nanny laws, hunting, smoking and coursing are not permitted at my ‘Mason Arms’.”

Mr Stonhill refused to let children into the pub and only accepted payment by cash and American Express card. Few prices were displayed on the menu.

The pub’s website reads: “We don’t like children, mobile telephones or media restaurant critics.”

The Grade II-listed pub, which is believed to be a former farmhouse dating from the early 1600s, received high praise from some of the world’s finest chefs.

Raymond Blanc described it as his “all-time favourite” pub and Marco Pierre White said it was his “favourite pub in Britain”, adding: “The food has all the cocksure confidence of the owner, Gerry Stonhill, and almost as much attitude.”

But Mr Stonhill reputedly fell out with The Sunday Times’s late restaurant critic Michael Winner, who described the Mason Arms as “the tackiest pub in Britain”.

Mr Stonhill celebrated the accolade by erecting a sign with the quote by the pub’s front door.

A picture of Mr Winner was also hung above the urinals in the men’s toilets.

Mr Stonhill’s commercial property agent, Peter Brunt, of Colliers International, said: “The Mason Arms was run in a very individual —probably unrepeatable — style by our client but all the fundamentals for a fabulous business are there in spades.

“The particular paraphernalia that our client liked to have around him restricted the capacity to about 60 covers through the bar and restaurant but there is clearly scope for many more.”

He added: “Our client bought the Mason Arms 18 years ago. He has decided that the time has come for him to retire.”