AN antique till has saved the day after a community pub was burgled during its busiest period.

Staff at the Grey Bull Community Pub, in Stanhope, County Durham, thought their festive period would be ruined after burglars snatched their electronic till in the early hours of Tuesday.

The raiders, who kicked in a side door to enter, also snatched the day’s takings – £540 – and about five bottles of spirits.

With no till, bar staff would have been unable to store money during last night’s busy New Year’s Eve, when hundreds of revellers were expected.

But manager Chris Jones recalled a pre-Second World War cash register that had been stored in the cellar.

Now the Arkwright mark II till, made from solid mahogany and which still opens with a ring, is being used in the bar.

Mr Jones said: “It is a difficult time to go out and buy new equipment and it is hard to get in touch with the insurers at this time of year, so we thought we might be in trouble.

We are expecting quite a bit of business over the next few days.

“The Arkwright has been down in the store for a while now, but it is still in good condition.”

Mr Jones said the till has created a stir with locals in the Grey Bull.

“I think it has brought the best out of the staff, because this one doesn’t do your sums for you like the old one, so people are having to figure it out on paper or in their heads.”

Police are investigating the burglary, which took place at about 1am on Tuesday.

“It is sad that someone stole the money – we are a community pub, so any profits we make are not lining someone’s pockets, they go back into the community,”

said Mr Jones.

A Durham Police spokesman said: “We are pleased that the landlord has found a temporary replacement till, but would still like to hear from anyone who has any information about the original till.”

Anyone with information is asked to call PC Morris, at Crook police station, on 0345-60-60-365, or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.