AN UPMARKET restaurant in north Essex was left with a £520 bill after diners who feasted on champagne, steak and scallops left without paying.

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Police have launched an investigation into the incident which happened at Milsoms in Dedham.

The four diners got through two bottles of £148 Dom Perignon champagne, three bottles of wine and ten courses between them on Saturday night.

Managing director of Milsom Hotels and Restaurants Paul Milsom said one of the male diners escorted an older man and a woman to their car leaving the last man to ask for the bill. He then went to the toilet before running out of the restaurant.

Mr Milsom said: “We were very busy when the group arrived at around 8.30pm so they waited outside in the garden for a table.

“They ordered a few bottles of very expensive champagne and some nibbles then moved to a table very close to the bar inside the restaurant.”

He said the diners ordered scollops, spring rolls and a prawn cocktail to start, followed by a £30 steak, two lamb shanks and cod for main and went on to share two ice-cream sundaes.

The total food and drink bill was £520.55.

Mr Milsom added: “As the evening wound down, one of the younger men escorted the older man to the car park. That man came back and took the lady away leaving one man remaining. He asked the barman for the bill and told him he was going to the toilet before sprinting off down through the back corridor.

The group is believed to have driven off in a silver Peugeot 406.

“As soon as the staff realised what had happened they called the police. The group obviously knew what they were doing. It was very well executed on a very busy night.

“Fortunately this kind of thing is very rare.”

Police have issued CCTV images of the diners in the hope of catching the culprits.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Pc Dan Smith at Colchester police station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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