‘Show some Christmas spirit and return our stolen Santa,’ pleads landlord

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New Forest pub
Phil Hoyle and Sarah Williams took over The London Tavern in August 2018

THE landlord of a New Forest pub is urging a thief who stole a Santa decoration to show some Christmas spirit by returning it.

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Phil Hoyle, who runs The London Tavern in Poulner, Ringwood, believes the festive figure may have been taken as a misguided joke by one of his customers during last Thursday night.

Purchased for a new Alpine bar which he has been building in the Linford Road hostelry’s beer garden, the ornament depicted Jolly Old Saint Nick wearing a Christmas jumper and carrying presents and a pair of skis.

New Forest pub
The Santa decoration was taken sometime during the evening of Thursday 12th December

“I bought the Santa for our Alpine bar that we thought would be something a bit different for our hundreds of regulars,” Mr Hoyle explained.

“I put the Santa on a window sill inside the pub and during a very busy night he vanished. Our regulars are a great bunch, but someone must have thought it amusing to take him.

“We are calling on that person to show a bit of Christmas spirit and return Santa to us. We have two children who are very upset.”

He added: “Running a pub is hard enough these days without people pinching the decorations.”

In spite of the theft, the landlord has been pressing ahead with preparations for the Alpine bar which is due to open this week.

The Santa snatch came exactly six months after alcohol was stolen when two youths gained entry to the pub’s cellar on the night of Wednesday 12th June.

Mr Hoyle and his wife, co-owner Sarah Williams, have also recently celebrated the watering hole being named best newcomer in the prestigious national Ei Group Awards.

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