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A restaurant almost lost thousands of pounds after a prankster booked nearly every seat in the place for a busy Sunday afternoon.

Rafters restaurant at the Riverside House Hotel in the Peak District estimates they could have lost almost £4,000 due to the “nightmare” prank.

Restaurant owner, Alistair Myers, said he noticed something fishy was going on when calls and emails to confirm the Sunday bookings didn’t go through.

Speaking to Manchester Evening News, Myers said: “We confirm all our future bookings during the week - a courtesy call about dietary requirements, allergies, so we can be prepared.

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“So as we’re doing it for this coming Sunday, there are loads of wrong numbers. Customers might give us a wrong number occasionally, it happens. So we start using the email addresses instead, to confirm the bookings, and now they keep bouncing back.

“We start looking into it, thinking ‘this can’t be right’. So we look at the IP addresses used, and one person on January 3 in a two hour period, has made all these bookings.

“They filled our entire Sunday lunch up for us,” he said.

In total, 23 tables were fraudulently booked at the restaurant which Myers estimated could have cost them almost £4,000 if they hadn’t noticed in time.

He said: “Had we not noticed, it would have been catastrophic for us. It’s an absolute nightmare.“

Now, the restaurant have introduced a booking system to prevent this ever happening again and have contacted the police about the mean prank.

“It’s quite malicious really,” Myers said. “It’s either a prank, or someone being horrible to us. We’d have bought all the food in, and we serve quite expensive beef. It would have been a disaster.”

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