A BAR is calling time on glass thieves by threatening police action against people who take their property.

Grants Bar, brewhouse and pizzeria, in Manchester Road, Accrington, run by Justin Grant, posted on its Facebook page that it would be informing police if they catch people leaving with glasses.

He estimates that it costs them more than £2,000 a year to replace stolen property.

In the past, the pub has posted CCTV images of suspects, which has led to either the glassware being returned or thieves being barred.

But now they feel they have been left with no choice other than to inform the authorities.

The post read: “We feel something has to be said regarding glasses being stolen from pubs. It would seem, after discussion, that it’s becoming an epidemic for us all almost.

“As pubs, most of us try our best to give you a good service. We serve great drinks in glasses that are deemed to be the best. It’s all part of the experience.

“However the theft of glasses this month so far has reached new heights and I estimate it will cost around £200 to replace the ones that have been taken.

“When we see people taking the glasses or generally doing something they shouldn’t, we post the CCTV pictures within our pub chat group for identification, and to warn other pubs.

"So far we have had a 100 per cent identification success and it very often leads to the returning of the stolen property or the barring of certain people from all pubs.

“The problem is so bad that this week I sought police help.

“However, it was fairly simple in that they deal with it a lot and said if we have someone on CCTV taking the glasses they would be fined and cautioned without it being a big upheaval to the police service.

“So we have decided that the next time we see a couple wandering out and getting into a taxi with two gin glasses we won’t just accept it as a loss anymore, or contact them in our usual way and ask the politely to return them. We will identify them and the police will deal with it.

“If you think this is petty or they’re ‘just glasses’, ask yourself if you’d walk out of your friends house with the cup they had just made you a brew in? It’s no different. It’s theft.”

Mark Briggs, the Lancashire Telegraph’s beer correspondent, said: “I’ve spoken to Justin and he’s very frustrated. It’s become like an epidemic but it’s nothing new.

“It’s costing him a load of money every month and it’s not fair. People seem to think they can take his property and that’s fine. But it’s not.

“Justin has done a fantastic job in building a great business. He’s completely turned it around with sheer hard work and now has a fantastic facility. He has a micro-brewery within the pub and a pizzeria, it’s brilliant.

“But people can’t just take the glassware. I’ve seen elsewhere people offer to buy the glasses if they really like them, or make a donation, but they cannot continue to keep taking the glasses.”

James Newton, a nightlife improvement campaigner, said: “Taking a glass from a pub is a criminal offence. It’s as simple as that.

“Pubs could invest in strong stickers on glasses, linked to an alarm system, that would go off if they tried to leave with a glass.

“Or they could use plastic glasses, which are better for the planet, and are safer. And no one would want to steal a plastic glass.”

Melissa Fisher, chair of the Hyndburn Borough Council licensing committee, said businesses would have to weigh up the pros and cons of providing fancy glasses.

She said: “We need to encourage people to enjoy the pubs and bars, and part of that experience is having a nice environment and nice glasses.

“If it was my business, I’d be thinking seriously about only having plastic drinking vessels. They are cheaper, safer and easily replaceable.

“In other towns they have a deposit scheme at the bar so you get your deposit back when you return the glass.

“They could have doormen who take glasses off people as they leave but that wouldn’t send out a good vibe for customers.

“It’s a real shame that a business has to go through something like this.”