West Sussex village pub theft: Customer pays for replacement antique

A regular customer at a village pub in West Sussex has paid to replace an antique which was stolen from the family business.

Antique fireplace frontage was stolen from The Murrell Arms pub in Yapton Road, Barnham. The theft was discovered last Wednesday morning (November 1).

Steve Rowntree, who manages the business with his partner Jennie, said the Victorian antique cottage fire surround was ‘part of the pub’, adding: “We were devastated, we couldn’t believe it had gone.

"All our locals are devastated as well. It’s a horrible thing to have happened and it’s taken away a bit of the charm from the open fire we had.

"We try to make it as inviting as possible for people and make it look nice.”

A loyal customer of the pub has since taken matters into his own hands.

Simon Davies sourced, purchased and delivered a replacement from his own finances.

“It’s an exact copy of our grate,” Steve said. “This is a true testament to the power of our regulars – their generosity knows no boundaries or limitations.

"Both Jennie and I, along with our customers are absolutely overwhelmed by Simon's kindness and feel this ought to be recognised, acknowledged and applauded."

Simon said: "Steve and Jennie have done so much for this pub and the community, I just wanted to give something back.”

Steve and Jennie took over the pub on Christmas Day 2021.

“We’ve turned it around and at least trebled the turn over,” Steve explained.

“We put on music and comedy nights. We had Bobby Davro here last weekend – he’s been a few times as he’s a good friend of ours. We have some big names and bands every weekend.”