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09 November 2004

Should restaurateurs turn a blind eye to customers stealing property from their restaurants?
First of all, I believe prices reflect the cost of food, drink and service, nothing else. As a restaurateur I accept things get broken, but one of my pet hates is when people steal the flowers off the table midweek, as I have to replace them. If I see someone slip something into their bag I will challenge them just to embarrass them, but if there's any doubt I let it go.
James Robertson, co-owner of London's Lanes restaurants.
I am sure a lot of it goes on when you have expensive knives and forks and side plates that fit in to a handbag. But it is difficult to accuse a customer unless you catch it on CCTV as you don't have the right to go through their pockets or bags.
Bruce Elsworth, head chef and manager, Angel Inn, Hetton, North Yorkshire
Some restaurant paraphernalia is designed to be stolen, such as branded ashtrays. But more valuable things - no. I don't think it's too clever to have silver teaspoons lying around as they will be stolen. People will want a little memento if you have a high-profile restaurant.
Charlie McVeigh, owner of the Bush Bar and Grill, Matilda, Woodys and Grand Union in London

TagsOpinion and Crime
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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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