Page last updated at 20:13 GMT, Friday, 2 January 2009

Town shoppers prove their honesty

Honesty box message
The message said staff had the day off and customers should help themselves

A shopkeeper in North Yorkshire who wanted a day off on Boxing Day decided to leave his store open and let his customers help themselves.

Tom Algie, who runs the Practically Everything hardware store in Settle, returned to work at the end of the day to find an honesty box full of money.

"It was stuffed with notes and coins," said Mr Algie. "There was 187 in it and two euros, which is pretty good."

Grateful shoppers had also left notes thanking him for trusting them.

"Somebody wrote that if it had been in Bolton the shop would have been cleaned out in two-and-a-half minutes," said Mr Algie.

"And somebody else said if it had been Keighley it would would have been two minutes and the shop would have burnt down, which I thought was quite funny."

Nothing had gone, nothing was missing and nothing was damaged and I had a pretty good day's takings
Tom Algie, shopkeeper

Mr Algie said he had come up with the idea when he woke up on Boxing Day morning.

"I got up and thought people need things like batteries and silver foil, the sort of things I sell.

"I wanted the shop open but at the same time I wanted the day off.

"So I thought perhaps I would just leave an honesty box and see what happened."

When he returned to the shop that evening he was pleasantly surprised.

"Nothing had gone, nothing was missing and nothing was damaged and I had a pretty good day's takings," he said.

The people of Settle proved to be so honest Mr Algie said he would consider repeating the experiment another time.

However, he said he was not expecting his next door neighbour - the local branch of NatWest bank - to follow suit.

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