Bartenders urged not to serve ‘whisky thief’ in illustrated warning

An alleged ‘whisky thief’ is said to be on the loose in Brighton and Hove, and one pub worker has attempted to warn others with a hand-illustrated note.

The suspect reportedly recently paid a visit to Hove Place, a bistro pub in Hove, but won’t be welcomed back anytime soon, having allegedly “tapped his card and bolted for the door.”

Not wanting to let the crafty punter get away with it, bartender Kean wrote a note urging others not to serve him, sharing it among members of a local bartenders’ Facebook group.

In his post, the Kean gave a vivid description of the alleged thief, who he says has “dark grey hair, stubble, grey t-shirt”, as well as a “distinctive red scar on his neck.”

He has also put together an accompanying illustration, which some say makes the alleged crook look rather like an “onion.”

Sharing a screengrab of the message on Reddit, one amused user – who goes by the username u/Dimitao – had plenty of fun with PhotoShop, editing the suspect’s likeness into a police line-up and, of course, a bar scene.

Fellow Reddit users have shared their own thoughts on who exactly the mystery man may be, with one woman joking it was the “spitting description” of her husband, who also drinks around Hove.

Another sagely advised: “Never trust an old half-sucked lozenge you find under the couch.”

Speaking with the Mirror, Kean said: “The guy came in and asked for a double whisky. Nothing specific, just whatever we had. I recognised him because he had a distinctive scar on his neck, but that was maybe a year ago and to my knowledge, he hadn’t tried stealing anything then. I poured him the drink and gave him the card reader.

“He tapped his card, necked the drink, and was walking away before I knew it. That was a major red flag. Once I saw that the card was declined I called him to come back and try again, but he carried on. So I chased him out of the pub. He tried hiding behind a door so he must’ve known I was coming after him.

“I told him he still had to pay and he said that he had no money and asked what I was gonna do about it. I told him that I’d have to pay for the drink out of tips if he was gonna ditch.

“This must’ve made him feel guilty because he then offered to work in the kitchen cleaning dishes and then offered to steal something for me. I gave him a good five-minute scolding before telling him to never come back.”

After speaking with his manager, Kean learned similar incidents had been reported at other local venues, and he decided to take action.

He continued: “I tried drawing a rough sketch of him so that everyone could look out for him. That was the easier way I could think of informing everyone because there were maybe a dozen of us working that day.

“I thought I’d also post it on BNBA as a warning to everyone else in the area. After a few hours, dozens of people had reacted to the post on Facebook and a few people had photoshopped my drawing in the comments to make their own jokes.

“It was only at that point that I realised what a poor and completely useless drawing I had made, but it was incredibly amusing to see how many people had taken notice of it. It kept me in good spirits for the rest of my shift.

“Even maybe a week later people are still reacting to it, so hopefully other bartenders will have taken notice and will be able to identify this guy if he keeps up his hustle. Though I highly doubt that. I drew the guy with one ear, no body, and in hindsight, the eyes are way off.”