Pub's hard-earned bread turns to toast

PUBLISHED: 08:27 24 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:07 03 July 2010

In these times of financial uncertainty people don't have money to burn.

However, one Norfolk barman is now feeling the heat after he saw £1,000 in takings go up in smoke.

In these times of financial uncertainty people don't have money to burn.

However, one Norfolk barman is now feeling the heat after he saw £1,000 in takings go up in smoke.

Luke Woolston feared his job at the Jolly Farmers at Ormesby St Margaret, near Yarmouth, may have been shot down in flames after he put a night's profits in the pub's oven to keep safe.

But, unfortunately, the 19-year-old did not realise the oven was turned on at a low heat and within an hour the crisp £10 and £20 notes had been burned or destroyed.

To make matters worse for Luke he had also placed part of the pub till in the oven and it soon melted around the money.

Following Thursday night's blunder, Luke thought that landlord Martin Talbot would give him the boot for damaging and destroying the £1,000, after he came home and found the cash burning slowly in the oven.

Luckily, Mr Talbot showed his generous side by allowing his embarrassed employee to keep his post - although the barman is now being gently chided by the pub's regulars for his mistake.

And to help Luke save face, the pub is taking down all the notes' serial numbers so that, hopefully, the Bank of England can reissue them.

Mr Talbot, 36, who has run the pub for two years, said: “I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I saw what Luke had done.

“But in the end I just laughed and gave him a hug as I know he has a heart of gold.

“He has worked here for two years and this is the first time he has put a foot wrong.

“Although it may be a bit of blow to lose some money, there are worse things that can happen to people.”

Luke put the £1,000 in the oven to keep safe as he did not realise it had been used to cook food for the pub's pool team.

Mr Talbot returned home in the early hours of Friday morning to find what Luke had done.

As Luke entered the pub to work his Friday night shift he was given a loud round of applause from the pub's regulars who have relished the chance to make fun of his blunder.

A mock menu has gone up in the pub, called Luke's Credit Crunch Menu, featuring 'profitless rolls' with 'moneyaise sauce' and 'half pound salad'.

Luke said: “I don't think I will ever live this down. At first I thought Martin was winding me up when he told me that the oven was still on and the money was being cooked.

“I thought, 'Oh no I am going to lose my job over this and have my wages docked'. But, luckily, Martin just laughed and said don't do it again.”

Luke has now been told where he can safely secure any takings without the risk of burning them again. Mr Talbot said: “I think Luke and the oven will now be a part of the Jolly Farmers' and the village's folklore for a long time.”

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