Cheeky Blackpool diner fails to pay for food he gobbled down - then wets himself, court told

Bella Italia
Bella Italia
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A dine dasher chancer tucked into £108 worth of food and drink - then confessed he couldn't pay up.

John Thomas Symon pulled the same stunt twice, to the annoyance of staff at the Bella Italia restaurant on Victoria Street in Blackpool.

While staff detained him and waited for police to arrive he wet himself, damaging a chair.

Preston Magistrates' Court was told the 58-year-old was a qualified electrician up until three months ago, when he found himself alcoholic, destitute and homeless.

On October 8 last year, while living in Blackpool, he was among a group of several rowdy men who ordered food and drink at the eaterie totalling £108.

Prosecuting, Joanne Cronshaw said: "On this date at around 1pm, the defendant entered Bella Italia with a group of others. They started to order food and drink. They were very loud, shouting swearing and complaining about food.

"The group continued to get more rowdy. The manager asked staff to place their bill on the table.

"At that point the defendant became adamant he didn't have the money to pay because one of the other males owed him money."

Police were called and they agreed he would return and pay up by noon the next day.

But he made no attempt to come back until January 2, when he pulled a similar stunt with another man.

Miss Cronshaw added: "Again he sits down and orders food and drink totalling £43. During the stay they became loud and verbal and their behaviour became erratic. The waitress then recalled him from the previous incident.

"He replied: "I've got no money but I get paid in three days time."

In a further interview he told police he thought he had £25 but must have lost it.

He admits two counts of fraud and a theft on January 8, when he entered the Royal Kings Arms in Lancaster asking about hotel availability, and stole a tablet on his way out.

Defending, Rob Kellock said: " Clearly he's fallen on hard times. He went a long time without offending.

"I was amazed when I spoke to him because he wasn't the sort of person I was expecting - he is very eloquent, pleasant and polite, and is also extremely frightened you'll send him to jail.

He wants me to make it clear that he is genuinely remorseful and embarrassed about his actions and is keen to make amends so far as he can."

The bench imposed a rehabilitation order and ordered him to pay £163 in compensation and a surcharge.

Symon, now of Knowsley Street, Preston, is not the first cheeky fraudster to rip off the county's restaurants.

In 2013, serial dine and dasher Jeremy Heath was caught on camera faking illness to avoiding paying for meals.

READ MORE: Fake heart attack man jailed

Heath, then 47, of Princes Reach, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, wined and dined in restaurants across Lancashire, Cumbria and Manchester, including fish and chips and two pints of Carling at the Castle Gardens, Poulton-le-Fylde. Afterwards he told staff he didn’t have any money.

In other eateries he claimed he had chest pains when it was time to pay the bill, prompting one venue to call an ambulance.