A kidnapped pub mascot is being held hostage – until the landlord stops playing annoying festive music.
Licensee Matthew Foster, 22, was baffled when the green wicker penguin named Elvis was snatched from its prime position in the bar.
Just hours later a ransom note was posted through his door, alongside pictures of Elvis with a knife held to his throat.
A sinister ransom note – made from newspaper headline text – read: “Stop playing Xmas music or the penguin gets it.”
But Matthew, who took over The Union pub in Gloucester six months ago, has refused to bow to the kidnapper’s demands and vowed to carry on playing Christmas hits.
He said: “We are really hoping they won’t go through with it, but they have gone to a lot of effort!
“There’s no way we are going to stop playing Christmas music.
“We laughed when the note first came through the door, but we were really confused too!”
Elvis was last seen in the pub last Wednesday and staff noticed his absence the following day just hours before the ransom note was posted.
The green penguin, who is dressed in a festive Santa hat and wearing a red poinsettia, was one of three wicker penguins given to the pub as a gift by one of the customers.
Matthew added: “We naturally assumed someone had taken him as occasionally happens with pub decorations and just thought it was a shame people would do this.
“We have been playing Christmas music for the past week and it has clearly annoyed someone enough to take Elvis the penguin hostage.
“However I know that Elvis would not want us to stop spreading Christmas cheer for his sake and only hope that the Scrooge that has taken him hostage will soon return him.
“In the meantime, we can only hope he is being treated right and will continue to spread a bit of Christmas spirit in his honour.”
The landlord is now appealing for anyone who may have information on Elvis’s whereabouts.