Enraged locals have driven a chocolate shop manager from Barrow-in-Furness after he branded the town a "s***-hole" on his Myspace blog, the Online Press Gazette reports.
Steve Beall, 20, had been relocated from Whitley Bay by choc outfit Thorntons to run a new "Cafe Thorntons" in the sun-kissed Cumbrian paradise. The firm put him up in a local Travelodge, but he evidently wasn't impressed with his new home. Under the name "Stevo", Beall wrote: "Well then what is there to say about Barrow in Furness apart from its a s***-hole!! "How the hell people live there I'll never no [sic]"
He continued: "It's very rough, give me Newcastle any day and staying in a Travelodge by yourself for over a week is very boring!"
Then, after vandals smashed the shop's front window a day before the official 8 December ribbon-cutting, Stevo added: "The first day I was there the little s**** put my shop window through stealing over a grand's worth of stock!! I've had a few shoplifters which I'm not used to. I'm tired, stressed and need to drink."
These heartfelt outpourings turned out to be a very bad move. The local paper reprinted his comments, after which "police had to be called" as "a steady stream of people visited the shop to tell the manager that if he did not like Barrrow he should go elsewhere - or words to that effect".
Beall was removed from his post, and his comments purged from Myspace. Thorntons CEO Mike Davies said: "On behalf of Thorntons, I would like to apologise for the disparaging comments made by one of our employees about the town of Barrow-in-Furness.
"These comments do not reflect the company's views or those of its other employees. Thorntons greatly appreciated the warm welcome it has received from the people of Barrow since its store opened on December 8 and hopes to become an active participant in the local community."
Davies went on to wish the good burghers of Barrow-in-Furness a merry Christmas and, as a "gesture of goodwill", offered a free chocolate to anyone popping into the shop before Xmas - a nice touch, given that the locals had already helped themselves to £1,000 worth of free goodies before the store had even opened. ®