"STOP playing Xmas music or the penguin gets it."
These are the words spelled out in a ransom note delivered to The Union pub on Friday just hours after Elvis, their wicker penguin decoration, was reported missing.
Elvis was last seen in the Westgate Street pub on Wednesday, so it is thought he left the building sometime the following day, which is when staff noticed his absence. On Friday, landlord Matthew Foster, 22, received a ransom note through his door which read: "We have the penguin.
"If you want him back then stop playing Xmas music or the penguin gets it."
The note, put together with newspaper clippings in ransom-note style, was accompanied by photographs of Elvis, some with a knife being held to his throat.
Mr Foster, who took over the pub six months ago, 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!"
The penguin was one of three wicker penguins given to the pub as a gift by one of the customers.
"We naturally assumed someone had taken him as occasionally happens with pub decorations and just thought it was a shame people would do this," added Mr Foster.
"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."