Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Pub's pink paintwork poses puzzle

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Tickled pink? Landlord awakes to pub painted pink by pranksters

Mystery decorators are alleged to have painted a historic black-and-white Herefordshire pub bright pink during the night.

The owner and tenant of The Prince of Wales in Ledbury told police they had no idea who painted the Grade I listed building without permission.

"The whole front of the building has been painted in a glorious Barbie pink," a police spokesman said.

Officers are trying to decide whether it is criminal damage.

They said building regulations had been breached because no permission was obtained to paint the 16th Century property.

'Good house'

Landlord Les Smith and his wife Elaine arrived at the pub to discover the new colour scheme, according to the couple.

Elaine Smith said: "We left.. on Monday evening, and when Les came to open up at 8am the next morning the pub was pink.

"We have no idea who did it. We've never had any bother with vandals and we keep a good house here - there is never any swearing or being abusive."

The decorators left a receipt for their work, saying "Invoice for works carried out at the Prince of Wales Pub, Ledbury, Herefordshire. Payment received - many thanks".

Carrying ladders

Pete Butcher, West Mercia Police spokesman, added: "Police have been unable to establish at this stage if the pink brushwork constitutes criminal damage or whether it is some form of prank or publicity stunt by persons unknown."

He said two men in overalls and carrying ladders and equipment painted the pub in Church Lane about 0600 GMT on Tuesday.

They left a receipt under the door, which contained false details, he said.

It will cost several thousands pounds to correct, said police as they appealed for information.

Mr and Mrs Smith, who have run the pub for six years, are planning to return the pub to its original black and white state as soon as possible.



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