A LANDLORD has been left counting the cost after thieves broke into his cellar and stole his Christmas stock.

Martin Evans, 46, from The Crown Inn on Redearth Road said his pub was targeted by thieves in the early hours of Sunday.

Large quantities of branded spirits, thought to be valued at around £500 and ordered in for the Christmas rush, were stolen from the venue.

Mr Evans suspects the culprits got into the cellar via the door inside the pub, which was accidentally left open by a member of staff, and exited via the back entrance.

He said: “The staff member who had been in the cellar before the incident was absolutely gutted and was blaming himself but at the end of the day he was doing his job, it’s the thieves who shouldn’t have been stealing.

“He went down there at a busy time and when he came back up he got caught up serving. All staff are well trusted and we do not blame them for what happened.”

Mr Evans added that the theft had occurred at a very unfortunate time when the pub was preparing for the last Friday before Christmas, often known as Black Friday due to the large influx of customers looking for a festive drink as they break up from work.

He said: “For us it’s a big hit as we had only just stocked up this week and we are now building up to Black Friday.

“It could not have come at a worse time and could cost us over £1,000 in the end.

“We never expected anything like this to happen, it’s a popular pub and we do not have any trouble.

“We want to catch these people and we are doing everything we can to try and do that.

“We posted about it on Facebook and that has had thousands of views and we are eternally grateful for the support we have had from customers.”

Officers are investigating the theft and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

A police spokesman said: “Unknown offenders have got into the cellar and taken a large quantity of spirits.

“We suspect they got away through the back exit.

“We are now appealing for anyone with any information about those responsible to contact 101 and quote the log number 0924 of December 13.”