A PENRITH restaurateur says that a blunder by the search engine giant Google is bringing his business to its knees.

Ian McGregor, who runs the Bangkok Bistro in Penrith, says that when people search online for the restaurant, Google lists it as “permanently closed”.

It isn't. The 50-seater Thai restaurant in Poet's Walk has traded without interruption since he took it over last October.

Mr McGregor, 52, said: “We were made aware of this by a customer three weeks ago. We've even had regulars asking 'are you closed?'.

“Penrith is a very touristy town and, although we're still getting locals in, tourists are searching for us on Google and being told we are shut.

“We rely on the tourist trade at this time of year. July and August should be the busiest time of year for us and instead we are dead.”

He has already had to release one of his five employees because of the slump in trade.

He estimates that takings have dipped by between £4,000 and £5,000 in three weeks.

Mr McGregor's attempts to get Google to correct the error have come to nothing.

He said: “I've not had much response to be honest. I've reported it online but when you ring them you get an answering machine.

"I've left messages but nobody has got back.”

Google told the News & Star that it would look into Mr McGregor's complaint. However, at the time of going to press Bangkok Bistro was still listed as “permanently closed”.

Mr McGregor has looked into bringing a legal claim for damages against Google but has ruled that out as too expensive.

He said: “I've been told by a solicitor that I would probably win but would need a couple of hundred thousands pounds behind me to fight the case.

"I don't know what else I can do. Google are a massive company and I'm just a tiny business.”

He added: “I'd love to know how the error came about. Who told Google that we're closed?

"It could have been someone with a grudge against the business. I don't know. Whoever has done it has caused me a lot of grief.”