A BROWN BEAR which is a major talking point at a Newcastle pub is finally back home, after an unscheduled trip to Northern Ireland.

Owners of Colonel Porter’s Emporium at Dean Street, Newcastle, put out an alert after Herbert, named after the creator of Newcastle Brown Ale, Colonel James Herbert Porter, disappeared on a Saturday night last month.

But now the bearnappers have sent their apologies and returned Herbert to his rightful place – but not before taking him on a number of adventures.

Herbert flew on a plane before embarking on a trip which saw him visit Bushmills Distillery and the Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden at Ballymoney, created in honour of the former champion motorbike champion.

The well travelled bear also made a stop near to The Dark Hedges, a Northern Ireland beauty spot known for its avenue of beech trees and even followed in the footsteps of television duo, Ant and Dec to visit the village of Desertmartin, Dec’s ancestoral home.

Photographs send by the man who took him show Herbert also got involved in a range of activities, from fishing to even doing a spot of truck driving.

And the perpetrator has reassured staff at Colonel Porter’s that Herbert has been well looked after on his “break” before being returned.

As an apology Herbert was given a bespoke crate which was built for him so he could return home in comfort, this time by ferry.

“We are just very glad to have him back safe and well,” said Cheryl Flower, business development manager at the bar.

“All the décor at Colonel Porter’s pays tribute to the great Victorian adventurers and travellers, but we didn’t expect Herbert to go off and have a trip of his own.

“While we certainly don’t condone this sort of behaviour, we’ve been assured it was just meant as a bit of fun so we won’t be taking any action.

“He’s certainly been out and about but we’re glad he’s now back home and that’s where he’s going to stay.”

Colonel Porter’s Emporium at Dean Street, Newcastle is well known for its quirky interiors as well as its Botanical Garden and Archie’s Lab – hidden behind a secret bookcase door.

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