Pub owner sends ‘creepy’ text to female customer using Covid track and trace details

Landlord apologises after woman’s partner accuses him of illegal data breach

Lamiat Sabin
Sunday 12 December 2021 19:10 GMT
St Canna’s Alehouse in Cardiff
St Canna’s Alehouse in Cardiff (Google Maps)

A pub landlord used a customer’s phone number which she supplied for Covid track and trace purposes to send her a “creepy” message telling her she has a “super pretty face”.

The woman, who is in her early twenties, visited the St Canna’s Alehouse in Cardiff last month.

Owner James Karran messaged her at just before 8.20pm on 19 November while she was still at the venue, after she had handed her name and phone number over to comply with government rules to trace any local spread of Covid.

The landlord, who is in his early forties, wrote in the text: “Just so you know you’ve got a super pretty face so you’re allowed to not wear a mask at the bar. Everyone else must wear one.”

The following day, the woman’s partner posted on Facebook a screenshot of the WhatsApp message Mr Karran had sent her.

The woman’s partner wrote on the pub’s Facebook page: “St. Canna’s Ale House thanks for deleting my review on your page. Last night my partner was a victim of GDPR breach.

“She went into this establishment, filled out the Track and Trace without thinking anything of it.

“She proceeded to order a drink at the bar, but the barman/owner James told her to remove the mask as he couldn’t hear her apparently, but only for this man to see what she looked like.

“Then [he] took her details from the Track and Trace sheet and messaged her illegally.

“My partner then left the establishment as soon as she had this creepy text from the owner/manager, frightened and worried if anything would happen to her. Luckily nothing did happen.

“After I was told this I then proceeded to message James immediately to tell him that I’ll be taking this further and will be contacting the police. He replied with his ‘profound apologies’ and he said not to take it further.

“But I believe he's only sorry he’s been caught doing it. Shame on you.”

The customer’s partner had also posted screenshots of messages he sent Mr Karran, accusing him of “absolutely awful behaviour” and an illegal data breach.

Mr Karran replied: “My profound apologies. No excuse, but I’ve [sic] so sorry for doing this to you and your girlfriend. I promise this will not happen again but can I please ask if you won’t take it further. I’m so so sorry.”

On Friday morning, the pub issued a statement on Twitter, which was then followed by another apology.

It said: “St Canna’s has always been known as a safe place to be, but recently that reputation has become tarnished.

“To grow and improve for the future we will be launching a series of positive initiatives aimed at re-establishing our reputation for safety and welcome to all.

“These will include: becoming accredited with the Good Night Out Campaign; implementing a ‘safer spaces’ policy; overhauling our business practices around the management and prevention of Covid; supporting the charity Women’s Aid throughout 2022, including initially donating one whole Saturday night’s takings.

“We cannot change the past but we hope people will see the actions we have taken, and continue to support this small business as it plays its role in the local community.”

After being criticised for the “passive” wording of the message, the pub’s Twitter account posted another message later that day which said: “I’m so unbelievably sorry. I’m sorry to the person I hurt directly by breaking their trust with gdpr and sorry to our community for letting you down.

“I’m sorry too I didnt say this earlier, I didn’t know what the best thing to do was. I feel so ashamed. I hope you can forgive me”.

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