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Hunt for 'dine and dash' couple swindling Covid-hit pubs and restaurants
16 November 2020, 18:31
Police are hunting for a “dine and dash” couple alleged to have defrauded pubs and restaurants in East Anglia of thousands of pounds in unpaid bills.
The pair are said to have claimed their bank card was declined during a four-month crime spree targeting Covid-ravaged hospitality businesses in the region.
In each of the cases the suspects left without paying, often leaving fake details and failing to go back to pay up after claiming a rejected card.
Norfolk and Suffolk Police are investigating five incidents between July and October which are thought to be linked.
At the Waterfront Bistro on Key Street in Ipswich on 2 September it was reported two people ate a meal to the value of £95.00. When they attempted to pay on their card they claimed their payment was declined, gave false details and failed to return.
At Marquis of Cornwallis, Upper Street in Layham on 10 September e two people ate a meal to the value of £197 and again the card was declined, they gave false details and failed to go back to pay.
On 31 October it was reported that a few days earlier at The Swan Inn, The Street, Monks Eleigh two people had a meal and again the card was declined, they gave false details and failed to go back and make payment.
Julie Penney of the Swan Inn who was targeted on Halloween, said the couple’s confidence and friendly image helped deceive staff. “It is so worrying how many people they have done it to. They are being so blatant about it,” she told the East Anglican Daily Times.
“I’ve found they are prolific, not just here – it feels like we’ve only just scratched the surface.
“We were so angry. To hit an industry when we are on our knees and struggling and do this.”
Norfolk Police said: “Officers can confirm they are investigating allegations of fraud. A man and a woman ate at the Bird In Hand Pub in Wreningham on 19th July 2020 and left without paying.
“Officers are linking this with a similar incident where a man and a woman stayed at the Sugar Beat Public House in Bracon Ash on 20th July and failed to make payment.
“Enquiries into both these incidents are ongoing and anyone with information should contact PC Rob McMahon at Wymondham Police Station on 101. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."
A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “This type of behaviour of making off without payment for meals is simply unacceptable. This type of activity whatever the value can result in a criminal conviction, which can have a serious impact on someone's life.”