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That's not very pucka - Jamie's diners take toilet handles as souveniers

TV CHEF Jamie Oliver has complained that diners at his restaurants have developed a taste for items that are off the menu -- linen napkins and toilet flush handles.

The 15-Minute Meals star said that thousands of napkins go missing every month at his chain of eateries and that he has been forced to weld handles on the toilets.

Oliver, whose business empire is worth e185m, linked the thefts to the recession.

He told the Radio Times: "Thankfully, we're ridiculously busy. But I have noticed things in this recession.

"Like people nicking the linen napkins from our restaurants. We now lose about 30,000 a month.

"And every restaurant of mine has the old-fashioned Thomas Crapper toilets because I've always thought they look wicked.

"But they're really expensive and we've had to have the handles and flushers welded on because people were unscrewing them and nicking them."

The star (37) also slammed British government ministers, saying that he had "given up" on them.

Oliver, who has campaigned for better school meals, said: "I am turning into a grumpy old man where the government is concerned. I'm not one of those people who fart around outside the UK to avoid paying tax.

"I'm actually proud to pay my whack. But I've met government and education secretaries and I'm just so bored and underwhelmed by them. And every year when I'm doing my tax return and putting that figure in the box at the bottom, I can't help thinking: 'I wouldn't give it to them. I wouldn't even employ them'."

hnews@herald.ie


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