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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 14:26 GMT
Johnnie Walker dummy decapitated
George MacLean and Johnnie Walker [Pic: Peter Jolly]
Mr MacLean has offered a reward to anyone who helps catch the culprit
The discovery of a headless life-size mannequin of 19th Century whisky magnate Johnnie Walker has sparked a police probe.

The smartly dressed dummy was stolen from the Castle Tavern in Inverness, where it had greeted regulars at the front door for the last year.

It was found - minus the head - in a nearby Masonic Lodge car park.

Pub owner George MacLean has now offered a case of whisky to anyone who can help catch the culprit.

Mr MacLean joked: "It started as a missing person inquiry, but is now a murder investigation."

The fibreglass dummy, dressed in top hat and tails, was stolen at about midnight on Friday.

The alarm was raised when a group of regulars who had finished a shift at a local restaurant arrived and, in the style of Jack Nicholson in The Shining movie, shouted: "Where's Johnnie?"

Whoever it was probably woke up the next morning with a stinking hangover and found a head in their bed
George MacLean

Mr MacLean said: "He was there one minute, and gone the next. It must have been a passer-by, probably drunk, as it wasn't any of our regulars.

"Even if one of them took him as a joke, they wouldn't vandalise him. They know how much Johnnie means to the pub. He is part of the furniture.

"Whoever it was probably woke up the next morning with a stinking hangover and found a head in their bed.

"I'm offering a case of Johnnie Walker whisky to anyone who comes forward with information leading to the return of the head. I'm putting a price on his head."

Widely distributed

A Northern Constabulary spokesman confirmed: "We are investigating the matter."

The original John "Johnnie" Walker started to sell whisky in his Ayrshire grocer's shop in 1820.

But it was only after his death in 1857 that the whisky took off, thanks to his son and grandson, both named Alexander.

It is now the most widely distributed brand of Scotch in the world with yearly sales of over 120m bottles, with its emblem of a striding Johnnie Walker becoming famous across the globe.

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