‘Scumbags’ - Restaurants owed hundreds by couple linked to dine and dash fraud

The Bird in Hand pub was targeted by a couple being investigated for fraud. Photo: Espirit Drone Ser

The Bird in Hand pub was targeted by a couple being investigated for fraud. Photo: Espirit Drone Services - Credit: Espirit Drone Services

A hotelier scammed by a couple allegedly committing fraud across East Anglia has labelled them “scumbags” after being left hundreds of pounds out of pocket.

Alex and Lizzie Brake, brother and sister, owners of the Bird in Hand pub and restaurant. Photo: Ale

Alex and Lizzie Brake, brother and sister, owners of the Bird in Hand pub and restaurant. Photo: Alex Brake - Credit: Alex Brake

Stevie King is the manager of Sugar Beat Eating House – a hotel and restaurant in Swainsthorpe – and had the couple stay for a week.

Since then he has learned that he is one of a handful of businesses which served the couple only to later see their card declined and go unpaid.

Norfolk police has confirmed it is investigating allegations of fraud, including at the Bird in Hand pub in Wreningham and the Sugar Beat.

Mr King said: “The couple said they were in Norfolk looking for a house and so stayed with us for a week while they did viewings.

Manager Stevie King, left said the dine and dash couple were 'professionals'. Photo : Steve Adams

Manager Stevie King, left said the dine and dash couple were 'professionals'. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams


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“We took a deposit from them when they first arrived but they extended their stay, as well as opening a food and drink tab. On the day it came to check out they came downstairs crying and told us they couldn’t pay.”

Mr King called the police who warned the couple that they had to pay up – though they still have not.

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“They were our first guests back after lockdown, we were so pleased to have customers back. But they were absolute scumbags – they clearly do this to businesses and are used to getting away with it,” he said.

Alex Brake, co-owner of nearby restaurant the Bird in Hand, also served the couple, who left without paying a £100 bill.

“They are so professional – they befriend you and compliment the food and service before their card gets declined. They said there was some fraudulent activity on the account which is why it hasn’t worked. I actually felt sorry for them,” he said.

Before going to the police Mr Brake tried to raise a County Court Judgment but found the details he had been left with were out of date.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “Officers can confirm they are investigating allegations of fraud. A man and a woman ate at the Bird in Hand Pub on July 19 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 July 20 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.”

MORE: New Asian street food kitchen opens in city centreThe same couple are also believed by police to have targeted businesses in Suffolk including the Swan Inn in Monks Eleigh and the Waterfront Bistro in Ipswich, where the pair used the same trick to scam the restaurant out of £95 on September 2.

Then on September 10, the Marquis of Cornwallis in Layham reported receiving false details and did not receive payment for a £197 meal.

A Suffolk police spokesman said the constabulary is linking the incidents.

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