The Mermaid in Hatfield Road, St Albans is no stranger to CAMRA awards, and is in the current CAMRA Good Beer Guide, but local publicans also owe their barman a debt of gratitude. Rob Oliver, 33, caught a thief who had been making his way around different pubs stealing charity boxes.
McGuire, of Hopkins Crescent, Sandridge, had been drinking in the pub and took the British Legion poppy appeal box from the bar. Mark Powell the Mermaid manager and Rob Oliver went in different directions in pursuit. When Rob reached Victoria Street he saw the man, approached him and said he had stolen the charity box. The charity box was in his bag and after Mr Oliver retrieved it McGuire started to become quite aggressive. Fortunately Mark Powell had caught up with them and barred him from the pub and informed the police.
After letting McGuire go Mr Powell and Mr Oliver both thought they recognised the man, and after looking through CVs submitted for jobs they found he had recently applied for work at the pub during the summer, so they had his contact details. These were given to the police and he was arrested. McGuire pleaded guilty to five counts of theft and two counts of attempted burglary and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.