A PRANK on a popular York venue has failed to amuse its owner.

Andrew Dunn, who runs Oscar’s wine bar and bistro, told how a joker had swiped a bunch of entry forms for a promotional free meal for two – and phoned a list of people telling them they had won.

Mr Dunn said he was now facing the prospect of turning down a crowd of people expecting a meal on the house at the restaurant and consoling them with free drinks.

The offer was part of a promotion to coincide with Oscar’s move to new premises in Swinegate – just around from the corner where it used to stand in Little Stonegate.

Mr Dunn said: “With a view to moving we ran a promotion where people could enter in a raffle for a free meal for two.

“We kept all these tickets in a champagne bucket by the bar.

“Someone must have grabbed handfuls of these tickets and rung all the people who had filled in the form to tell them they had won.”

He said the alarm had been raised by some of Oscar’s customers. “We started getting calls from a few of our regulars who said they were concerned about calls they had received. They said something did not ring true.

“Someone thought it was quite funny to play this hoax to get everyone to think they can get a free meal – well, they have a different sense of humour than me.

“Who knows how many people have been called, but we can not possibly give away loads of free meals. We will be hospitable to anyone who comes in and give away a drink or something.

“I think the person behind this hoax thought this would be funny – but it’s not.”

The new Oscar’s bar in Swinegate launched with a celebratory party last night.

Mr Dunn said: “The new Oscar’s has all of the best elements from the old Oscar’s. The only thing is changed is the building – we have the same staff, same menu and same great value for money.”