The owner of a pub in Blackburn has been left feeling angry after two cheeky diners apparently “sabotaged their own food” in order to try and get a refund.

Tom Croft, co-manager of The Observatory, has now warned other businesses to remain vigilant of customers who may also try this tactic.

In CCTV footage, seen by the Lancashire Telegraph, two diners can be seen eating their meals.

One customer then appears to pull hairs from her own head and put them on some food that remained on a plate.

Tom claims the customer was refunded for the meal, which cost around £12, before the CCTV was viewed.

Lancashire Telegraph: Customers ‘sabotage own food’ for refund at The Observatory in BlackburnCustomers ‘sabotage own food’ for refund at The Observatory in Blackburn (Image: The Observatory)

He said: “After she placed a hair she then went to a member of staff and caused a scene.

"They were given a refund and I looked at the CCTV footage to see what went on and we found that.”

If he had not seen the footage, Tom said jobs and the pub’s reputation could have been put at risk.

He said: “I felt sick to my stomach and angry that there are people out there like that, who are willing to put other people’s jobs and businesses at risk.

“If we did not find the CCTV message and people heard that someone had a hair in their food, it could ruin our reputation.

“People love coming here for our food.”

Energy prices at the Thwaites pub have nearly doubled in the last year, according to Tom, and he says incidents like this are the last thing a business owner should have to worry about.

He said: “With the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills every little counts. Some might say they were only refunded a small amount of money but it all adds up.

“We are still recovering from covid and have incurred a large amount of debt from that period, which we are trying to recover from.

“I just think what is the need? Why would anyone go out of their way to damage someone’s business or ruin our reputation?

“The kitchen team thought they had done something wrong.”

Tom said this is the worst thing he has seen a person do at the pub, since taking over more than five years ago.

He said: “We have never had anything like this happen before. It’s the worst incident we have seen.

“I want to warn other businesses that there are people like this out there as I would not like this to happen to anyone business.

“Hopefully this will save other establishments suffering.”