Britain’s worst dine and dash couple jailed for dodging £1,000 in restaurant bills after antics were exposed on CCTV

29 May 2024, 17:25

Britain’s worst dine and dash couple jailed for dodging £1,000 in restaurant bills after antics were exposed on CCTV
Britain’s worst dine and dash couple jailed for dodging £1,000 in restaurant bills after antics were exposed on CCTV. Picture: Alamy / Social Media

By Danielle De Wolfe

Britain's worst 'dine and dash' couple have been jailed after pleading guilty to running up bills in excess of £1,000 before fleeing restaurants across Wales.

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Bernard McDonagh, 41, and his wife Ann McDonagh, 39, both from Port Talbot were caught on camera digging into dishes at a string of eateries across Wales.

The couple, who have three children, pleaded guilty to 5 counts of fraud after running up bills totalling £1,168.10 across five different restaurants.

Appearing at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday, the pair were sentenced to a total of 20 months in prison.

As part of the fraudulent scheme, the pair were found to have used 43 different aliases and 18 different dates of birth during their dining spree, duping eateries.

Bernard McDonagh, 41, and his wife Ann McDonagh, 39, both from Port Talbot were caught on camera digging into dishes at a string of eateries across Wales.
Bernard McDonagh, 41, and his wife Ann McDonagh, 39, both from Port Talbot were caught on camera digging into dishes at a string of eateries across Wales. Picture: Alamy

The crimes that took place across a 30 mile radius in Wales, with Ann McDonagh telling one probation worker that she specifically targeted the restaurants because "they were not something she could usually afford."

As well as their jail terms, the couple were ordered to pay £2,185 in compensation, £1,168 for their unpaid restaurant bills and £1,017 for items stolen from shops.

The couple also admitted four shoplifting offences, stealing £1,017.60 worth of goods from shops including Tommy Hilfiger, Sainsbury and Tesco, with Ann McDonagh pleaded guilty to an additional count of obstructing a police officer.

Read more: Man and woman charged with fraud after dine-and-dashers 'left £329 bill unpaid at restaurant'

Read more: Britain's worst dine-and-dash couple? Family who ‘left without paying £329 bill’ have been ‘doing runners for months’

Leaving a restaurant without paying the bill is a criminal offence. Anyone found guilty could be sentenced to up to two years in prison.

It was later revealed that Ann has 18 convictions from 36 offences including fraud and theft.

Sentencing, Judge Paul Thomas KC told Ann McDonagh she had the "leading role" in the scheme.

Described as a "fluent and practiced liar," he added the couple had both done "significant harm" to the traveller community.

Britain’s worst dine and dash couple jailed for dodging £1,000 in restaurant bills after antics were exposed on CCTV
Britain’s worst dine and dash couple jailed for dodging £1,000 in restaurant bills after antics were exposed on CCTV. Picture: Social Media
As well as their jail terms, the couple were ordered to pay £2,185 in compensation, £1,168 for their unpaid restaurant bills and £1,017 for items stolen from shops.
As well as their jail terms, the couple were ordered to pay £2,185 in compensation, £1,168 for their unpaid restaurant bills and £1,017 for items stolen from shops. Picture: Social Media

He added their actions would "reinforce some people's negative stereotypes," explaining: "If your community is, as I am told disgusted with your behaviour, they have every right to be."

One restaurant, Bella Ciao near Port Talbot, said a family of eight fled had visited their eatery and ordered steaks, desserts and 15 bottles of fizzy drinks - even sending back several half-eaten plates of food, before fleeing.

Several other restaurants in the area have also claimed that members of the same family have left without paying huge bills, according to MailOnline.