Norfolk pub hit by 'dine and dash' fraudster welcomes conviction

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 were among the establishments targeted. Photo: Alex Brake - Credit: Alex Brake

A Norfolk pub owner has said a fraudster behind a spate of "dine and dash" walkouts needed to "learn his lesson" as he was jailed for eight months.

Alan Rogers, from Suffolk, pleaded guilty to 18 offences of having not paid for almost £2,500 worth of meals and hospitality in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The 46-year-old ex-aerospace engineer was sentenced on Friday for the offences which left two Norfolk establishments more than £900 out of pocket.

Alan Rogers arriving at Ipswich Crown Court

Alan Rogers arriving at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

He, along with a 43-year-old woman from Sudbury, was arrested on suspicion of making off without payment in November, with no further action taken against the woman. Rogers accepting responsibility for the entire spate of offences.

Lizzie Brake, co-owner of the Bird in Hand, in Wreningham, said Rogers had enjoyed a three course meal and drinks at the pub on July 19 before being unable to pay the £97.20 bill. 

She said: "The vast majority of people are good and honest and do not come to us with that intention.

"We were surprised he was jailed. We were quite pleased as he does need to learn his lesson."

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


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She said Rogers had come to pay with his card which was declined, leaving the owners trying to reclaim the money several times over the phone.

Miss Brake said: "He didn't sneak, they had a three course meal, Pimms and lemonade, pints of Peroni, they really made the most of it.

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"He was so believable. It was only £97.20 but there are only so many £97.20s you can afford to lose. It's the principle rather than about the money, it's morally wrong doing it."

A post in a a pub owner's Facebook page about a separate incident involving Rogers led a number of hospitality businesses to contact the police. 

Miss Brake said: "He did continue doing it for a long time. We were lucky the evidence was pretty clear, we had all the receipts, we had transcripts of all the times we had spoken to him." 

The Sugar Beat Eating House, in Swainsthorpe, near Norwich, was the worst-hit of the establishments with Rogers leaving without paying a balance of £824.95 for 10 nights' accommodation between July 10 and 20.

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