Restaurant owners hit by 'dine and dash' conman welcome his jail sentence
- Credit: Julie Penney/Charlotte Bond
Restaurant and pub owners in Suffolk and Essex have welcomed the jail sentence given to a prolific 'dine and dash' conman who left without paying bills at 18 venues.
Alan Rogers, from Hadleigh, was handed an eight-month sentence at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday after failing to pay for almost £2,500 worth of meals and hospitality between January and October last year.
The 46-year-old would offer payment using a declined bank card, before making a dishonest excuse about a redundancy package, and leaving without making any subsequent attempt to pay.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that the offences were partly motivated by escapism and a desire for Rogers to impress his partner, who he took out dining.
The Swan Inn, in Monks Eleigh, was left £54.65 out of pocket after Rogers left without paying his bill in October last year.
Landlady Julie Penney, who manages the pub with her husband Stephen, notified police and other businesses in the area after Rogers failed to return to pay up.
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She said she was "very happy" to hear of his conviction.
Mrs Penney said: "We were worried that he might only get a sentence where he'd only have to sweep the streets for 20 weeks.
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"It was more than frustrating for it to happen to us. To begin with, I was quite annoyed with myself as he seemed so plausible. When I realised he was a conman, I was furious.
"I'm really pleased he's in prison. A lot of work went into making sure he was found. It has made us realise dine and dashing is a bigger problem than we realised."
The Barn Brasserie in Great Tey, near Colchester, was conned out of £146.55 in August last year.
Restaurant manager Mo El Abed said: "I'm so happy he's in prison - he deserved it. They seemed like a nice couple and we gave them the best service.
"It was a lot of money for us to lose, especially with Covid. After a few months of being closed, it made us feel stupid.
"The owner was so angry about what had happened and everyone was shocked.
"I have never seen anyone like him before. But now we make sure we take details if someone can't pay."