The couple admit to ordering huge meals at restaurants and running away without paying

A dine-and-run couple admitted to ordering a lot of food in restaurants and running away without paying. Bernard and Ann McDonagh took the children to the South Wales locations and then left before the bills arrived – costing the restaurants more than £2,000.

The husband and wife pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud when they appeared at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. A judge heard how they got food and drink for themselves and their family at several restaurants in south Wales on different occasions and left without paying their bills, WalesOnline reported.

The court heard the couple attended Bella Ciao restaurant in Castle Street in Swansea on April 19 this year. There they obtained £329.10 worth of food and drink for themselves and their family “with no intention of paying for it”, the court heard. They also failed to pay a £196 bill at Isabella’s restaurant in Well Street, Porthcawl, on March 27, a £267 bill at the River House restaurant in Kings Road, Swansea, on August 9, 2023, a £99.40 bill at the Golden Fortune, Port Talbot, on 31 January 2024 and a £267.60 bill at La Casona restaurant in Skewen on 24 February 2024.

The court was told the presence of the children was “an aggravating factor”. District Judge Chris James sent the case to Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on May 29. He granted both defendants unconditional bail and asked for a pre-sentence report for each of them.

The couple’s actions came to light after they targeted the newly opened Bella Ciao in Swansea’s Castle Street in April and fled without paying a bill of more than £329. Following the incident, manager Tyrone Reese said, “They were ordering the most expensive things on the menu, like T-bone steaks and stuff like that.”

After Bella Ciao shared a picture of the group that came to the restaurant on their social media page, several other restaurants came forward and reported similar incidents. At Casona, in Skewen, they are almost £300 down. A spokesman for the restaurant said: “After the meal four people have already left our restaurant. A lady stayed with a boy to “pay”. The woman tried to pay with a card which was declined. She said she would get another card from the machine. I asked the boy to stay and wait for her in the restaurant. She also left 10 seconds after the boy started running towards the car.”

Ann McDonagh, 39, also admitted three counts of theft by shoplifting. They related to obtaining £442 worth of clothing she did not pay for at Tommy Hilfiger at Bridgend Designer Outlet on 3 February 2024 and £49 on 17 February 2024. She also pleaded guilty to obtaining of household items from a Tesco Extra store in Swansea worth £426.60 and leave free on 6 September 2023 and get items from Sainsbury’s at Bridgend Designer Outlet worth £400 and leave free on 25 February 2024 Ann McDonagh also pleaded guilty to obstructing a police officer in the execution of their duty at Queen’s Road Police Station in Bridgend in February 2024.

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