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Police hunt for 'dine and dash' couple who swindled up to a dozen hospitality venues without paying


Police are hunting a 'dine and dash' couple who swindled up to a dozen pubs and restaurants by fleeing without paying for meals during a ten-month crime spree.


The pair are thought to have claimed their card was declined during brazen tricks on the beleaguered hospitality venues across East Anglia.


They would then leave a fake address and phone number before vanishing into the night.

The couple have been enjoying their lavish lifestyle drinking bottles of high-end wine and spirits with the free gourmet food.


On one occasion they even managed to dodge paying after staying a week at a hotel.

The brazen fraudsters have been eating out at fine dining restaurants and hotels across East Anglia and Essex for free every day of the week.


Norfolk and Suffolk Police are investigating five linked incidents which have been reported to them, but the victims are confident there are more cases.


Julie and Stephen Penney who run the Swann Inn in Monks Eleigh, Suffolk, were hit by the fraudsters on Halloween.


The couple racked up a bill of £56 having several courses washed down with double vodkas.


Mrs Penney saw nothing amiss when their card was declined. The 52-year-old said: 'They have this down to a fine art.


Mrs Penney saw nothing amiss when their card was declined. The 52-year-old said: 'They have this down to a fine art.' Pictured: Their pub the Swann Inn



Shortly after that their card was declined and they pulled their trick of leaving.


Mrs Penney continued: 'He assured us that they only lived down the road and they would pop round and pay tomorrow.


'At the time it felt very embarrassing for them that their card was declined. But then he left with an unopened bottle of wine just to add insult to injury.'


When Mr and Mrs Penney tried to call the phone number the pair had left they realised a digit was missing.


And at the address they had given, the landlords were informed the couple had moved on months ago.


Mrs Penney posted about the couple on a pub owners Facebook group and could not believe the response.


More than a dozen landlords and restaurateurs got in touch to say they were targeted in exactly the same way.


She was inundated with messages saying other venues had been hit with the same modus operandi.


They were all given the same initials and fake address, and confirmed the couple when Mrs Penney showed her CCTV.


She said: 'It has been going on since January, and I thought it's about time someone stopped them.


'It sounds like they've been going out every night of the week and having free meals everywhere. At one place they racked up a £1,500 bill and didn't pay.


'They're like East Anglia's Bonnie and Clyde. I think they've got away with it for so long, because no pub owner would think anyone would be so brazen and prolific at dine and dashing.


'It's the first time it's happened to us in two years of running the pub. Why should we just accept it

Officers are investigating when a couple failed to pay and gave false details for a £95 meal at the Waterfront Bistro, Ipswich (pictured), on September 2


On September 10, at the Marquis of Cornwallis pub, in Layham (pictured), a couple didn't pay and gave false details for dinner worth £197




Julie and Stephen Penney (pictured) who run the Swann Inn in Monks Eleigh, Suffolk, were hit by the fraudsters on Halloween





Credit: Read more from dailymail.co.uk



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