Hotel says it will trade free meals for stolen cutlery

Police style amnesty for silverware thieves
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The Independent Travel

A hotel has issued a police-style amnesty for guests who show their appreciation of the establishment's hospitality by taking home a few "souvenirs".

A hotel has issued a police-style amnesty for guests who show their appreciation of the establishment's hospitality by taking home a few "souvenirs".

A weekend at a plush hotel may not be complete, for some, without taking a keepsake or two to act as a reminder of a pleasant experience. Normally it's only a bar of soap, an ashtray or a teaspoon, but managers at the Raven Hall Hotel, in Ravenscar, North Yorkshire, have decided to offer free meals and rooms to former guests who bring back the items they purloined during a previous stay.

Teaspoons, plates, salt cellars and even the odd chamber pot have gone missing over the years and the management's decision was inspired by an attempt to gather exhibits for a display of memorabilia tracing the hotel's 100-year history.

The amnesty involves a list of goods being given an exchange value to persuade light-fingered guests to return them. To qualify for a meal, the items returned must be engraved Raven Hall or Hudson Hotels and date from the 1950s or earlier. Typical exchange values will include an afternoon tea in return for spoons, and a room and breakfast for a chamber pot or a stone hot water bottle. An old menu can be surrendered for a box of cigars.

Anyone who presents an original Raven Hall bill from before World War II will be able to stay the night at the price marked on the bill. In 1934 the hotel tariff was between 17s 6d (87.5p) and 25s (£1.25) a night.

Matthew Loades, the hotel's marketing manager, said: "There will be no questions asked. It will be a proper police-style amnesty. Whenever we do a stock check, we always find items missing. There's no telling how much has gone over the years when people wanted a souvenir."

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