The Metropolitan police has arrested a couple suspected of running a scam of visiting high-end restaurants and leaving without paying after pretending to go outside for a cigarette.
Last week, L'Autre Pied in Marylebone fell victim to the fraudsters, who dined at the Michelin-starred restaurant, ordering two bottles of Champagne and food, racking up a bill of £572. Before eating their desserts, the pair asked for their coats to go outside for a cigarette but never returned. The couple had booked the table using fake contact details and under the name of Lupin, which echoes that of Arsène Lupin - a fictional French gentleman thief.
David Moore, owner of L'Autre Pied and sister restaurant Pied à Terre, told Caterer the pair were out to "rip us off from the start".
"At first I thought it was a spur of the moment thing and told the restaurant staff not to worry," he said.
"But then I saw the bill and realised that they'd used a fake phone number to make the booking. I was furious."
The Metropolitan police has now confirmed that it has arrested a couple on suspicion of fraud after they attempted to leave another London restaurant without paying last night.
"A 27-year-old man was arrested last night on suspicion of fraud and a woman in her late 20s was arrested at her home in London N11 later on," a spokesman for the Metropolitan police told Caterer.
"They are both currently being questioned. The arrest took place after a central London restaurant contacted police after the diners attempted to leave without paying."
It has now emerged that other top-end London restaurants have also been hit by the couple, including the Michelin-starred Glasshouse in Kew, west London. A spokeswoman for the restaurant confirmed that the pair had done "exactly the same" as at L'Autre Pied, ordering expensive bottles of Champagne before going out for a cigarette and running off.
Pearl restaurant at the five-star Renaissance Chancery Court hotel in the City has also been targeted. "They were here," confirmed a spokeswoman for the property. "We are speaking to the police and an investigation is going on."
By Kerstin Kühn
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