Rip-off "ready meal" Christmas lunch
A family who paid almost £400 for a Christmas lunch in their local pub were "disgusted" when the feast was exposed as a "ready meal" after one of the party had to have his food wrapped to be eaten at home.
Mark Chaplin, whose car broke down on his way to the lunch, chose to have a bacon sandwich instead when he saw the contents of his packed Christmas meal.
"This time of year is always hard for my dad because my mum died at Christmas some 13 years ago, so we always try to make it extra special for him," she said.
However, the family felt ripped off by the experience, especially once the Chaplins got home and saw the state of Mark's packed lunch - which looked like "a ready meal that had simply been heated up in some way".
"It looked like something I could pick up from Iceland for £1.99," Nina said. "My husband was so upset he binned his meal and made himself a bacon sandwich instead."
However, she said she was most disappointed for her father, who suffers from emphysema and had saved up his pension money to pay for his meal.
"My dad was upset because it cost so much money," she added. "It ruined our family Christmas."
A spokesman for the Greene King pub chain, which includes The Cricketers in Rainham, defended the quality of the food served to the Chaplins.
"While not cut from the bone in the pub, unlike in our carveries, our meat is from quality British turkeys and all of our vegetables are fresh," he said.
"Usually we would not provide takeaway Christmas dinners but our team was keen that the customer's husband did not completely miss out on his Christmas meal and did their level best to help."