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Model pig-napped in beer price protest
HE was spirited away during the landlord’s absence and is being held for ransom at a mystery location.
Pickles, a life-sized model of a pig, has been smuggled out of a Hampshire pub by a group calling itself Fair Play For Drinkers (FPFD), which is campaigning against the rising cost of beer.
The Bridge Tavern in Holbury has received a series of sinister notes made up of individual letters and words cut out of various publications.
One of the ransom demands says: “We have heard the beer is to go up. If you love Pickles you will not let this happen at any cost.”
The popular watering hole has also received two photographs, one of which shows a masked figure holding a FPFD banner.
The other is of Pickles with a bag over his head to prevent him from identifying his abductors and the location of their hideout.
Now the pub has launched a “Free Pickles” campaign in a last-ditch attempt to rescue its beloved mascot.
Landlord Dickie Cooper, 64, told the Daily Echo that the “pig-nappers” struck when he was away for the day.
“I think it’s just a practical joke but I’d like to get him back,”
“I haven’t actually put my prices up, so I don’t know where they’re coming from.”
Pub regular Stuart Roberts described it as a light-hearted stunt that aimed to highlight a serious problem.
“Pickles’ ‘pig-napping’ and ransom is a bit of a giggle for locals but it’s raised awareness of an issue that’s close to landlords’ hearts,” he said.
Some of Britain’s biggest breweries are putting up their wholesale prices, forcing publicans to pass on the increases to customers.
The rising price of raw materials and increased distribution costs are also being blamed.
Brewers and pub companies are also pressing for a freeze in the so-called “beer duty escalator” when Chancellor George Osborne reveals his Budget on Wednesday.
The escalator, which raises duty by two per cent above inflation every year, was introduced in 2008.
Since then beer duty has risen by 42 per cent and taxes now account for about a third of the cost of a pint.
But the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has warned that 18 pubs are closing in Britain every week as a result of rising prices and declining sales.