A pub landlord is so fed-up after loaning regulars money and never being paid back he has placed a huge sign in his bar threatening to name and shame punters who owe him cash.
Generous Kevin Murphy, 51, has subbed cash-strapped punters and struggling fellow landlords for more than 20 years after hearing their sob stories.
But after receiving a demand to pay more than £8,000 from the taxman last week, Kevin worked out he had lent people close to £10,000 and is now calling in the debt.
In a desperate bid to claw back his IOU’s he has erected a 10ft sign in the window of his popular pub, Murphy’s in Leamington Spa, Warks., begging punters to cough up.
It reads: “Over the years I have helped numerous people out with a couple of quid sub, a roof over their heads or a couple of barrels of beer to a landlord/landlady.
“Mostly, I have been repaid for these favours but with the sub of money it was always a loan, not a gift.
“Now, unfortunately, the taxman has presented me with a rather a large backdated demand for money, which I must pay and for which I am being charged interest.
“Fortunately, what I am owed and what I owe are fairly similar, so I am therefore politely asking all of the people who owe me money for all of my money back.
“I have to do it this way because (surprisingly) the people that owe me money no longer drink in my pub.
“Just in case the people that owe me money are not only forgetful but also a bit short-sighted, I will print their names in nice big letters along with what they owe, what it was for and how old the debt is, in the next advert that I place here in four weeks’ time.
“Obviously I will print all the people’s names right here in the window on 1st August, 2015 if they have not cleared their debt or made arrangements with me to do so.
“If you know anyone who owes me money, please draw this to their attention so as to avoid embarrassment to them or their families.”
He has run the pub for more than 22 years and works 16 hours a day alongside his daughter Lisa, 26.
Kevin, who admits to being a “soft touch”, says his biggest loan was £1,500 to a landlord of a struggling pub seven years ago.
The dad-of-one said: “I’ve been the landlord here for 22 years and during that time I’ve lent people #10 here, #20 there, #100 here when they needed it.
“I reckon I’m owed about three grand by customers and that’s no small sum.
“I’ve also given about £4,000 to other pub landlords for beer kegs when they were struggling.
“I own a bedsit too and I’m owed about £1,000 by tenants, so that’s more than £8,000 altogether, in fact I worked out its probably closer to #10,000.
“People see me as a soft touch and they take advantage of that. Some of them have got no intention of paying.
“But the taxman is asking me for more than #8,000 in back taxes and interest on top of it, so I need the money I’m owed urgently. If I get it, it will make a huge difference.
“You don’t go into Tesco and say to the person on the till: ‘I’m a bit skint right now, I’ll pay you tomorrow’. These were loans, not gifts.
“If they want a loan they can go to a payday lender on the high street. I’m not a bank.
“I sometimes see people who owe me money drinking in other pubs. I just think they’ve got no shame and no sense of decency.
“But if they don’t pay me back within four weeks, their names are going up in my window for everyone to see. I don’t care if it makes me unpopular, most of them don’t drink here because I kept asking them for my money back.
“I’ve got a little red book with all my IOUs in. There’s about 30 names on that list and I keep it in my safe. I say to my daughter Lisa, if there’s a fire and I don’t make it get the book and make sure they pay up.
“I’ve loaned beer barrels to pubs which were struggling too. One landlord borrowed #1,500 from me seven years ago and he’s never given me a penny back.
“His name’s going right at the top of the list unless I get my money back.
“His missus even had the cheek to say to me: ‘We get embarrassed when we see you’.
They make you feel like you’re doing something wrong asking for what’s rightfully yours.
“I still do people favours. I loaned someone £50 yesterday. I’m just more selective about who I do favours for now.
“I haven’t had anyone say anything negative to my face but one bloke wrote on Facebook: ‘I owe you #80, good luck getting it. I don’t care if you name me’.
“But the sign has had the desired effect, three people have already got in touch with me and made arrangements to pay off their tabs. I have the full support of my loyal regulars.
“The pub isn’t in danger. I live here as well and my accountant’s already written to the taxman making a reasonable offer of payment.
“There’s no deadline on my repayments at the moment. If there was, names would already be in my window.
“But if I don’t get paid those names are going up and they won’t come down until they’ve settled up.”