'He got his just deserts' - Hotelier's relief as dine and dash conman jailed

Channel 4 Four in a Bed winner Sugar Beat, Swainsthorpe. Manager Stevie King, left and head chef Dav

Manager of the SugarBeat Eating House Stevie King, left and head chef Dave Lovett - Credit: Steve Adams

A hotelier left out of pocket by a "confidence trickster" jailed for eight months says he is relieved he "got his just deserts".

Stevie King, manager of family-run hotel SugarBeat Eating House in Swainsthorpe, near Norwich, was one of more than 18 businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk to fall prey to prolific dine and dasher Alan Rogers, who was jailed on August 27.

The hotel was the worst-hit by Rogers and was defrauded of £825 after the couple claimed they could only pay for three nights' worth of accommodation despite staying for 10 days in July last year.

Alan Rogers arriving at Ipswich Crown Court

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

Ipswich Crown Court heard the 46-year-old ex-aerospace engineer, formerly of Market Place, Hadleigh, took sole responsibility for the fraud and "regretted" his actions.

Mr King at SugarBeat said he was glad Rogers "got his just deserts".

"You can't go round defrauding people, especially when we've just come out of a pandemic," he said.

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"Rogers and his partner were the first guests to stay with us after the first lockdown so we were really excited about it.

"While justice has prevailed, we're still sitting on an unpaid £800 bill.

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"We had a call off him two weeks ago about setting up a repayment plan. I'm trying to arrange contact through witness protection to see if we can sort out a plan, but I'm not holding out [much hope]."

SugarBeat Eating House at Swainsthorpe

SugarBeat Eating House at Swainsthorpe - Credit: Archant

As a family business employing 20 people, Mr King said Roger's dine and dash spree had "an immense impact".

"£800 is a lot for us," he said. "At the time I believed him when he said he was waiting on a redundancy payment and the bill would be settled in full, but now I see he's just a confidence trickster.

"In my seven years here, we've had one family leave without paying for their breakfast once, and that was worth about £40.

"I hope this sentencing acts as a deterrent for anyone else who consumes goods and services and then tries to leave without paying."

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

Fellow Norfolk establishment the Bird in Hand pub in Wreningham lost £97.20 after Rogers and his partner enjoyed a three-course meal before their card was declined.

"It's morally wrong," co-owner Lizzie Brake said. "It's the principle rather than the money."

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