Michelin-starred London restaurant Pied a Terre has reportedly been defrauded of £12,000 of Champagne and wine by a group pretending to work for wealthy Arab clients.
According to the Evening Standard, a man rang the restaurant, which is operated by restaurateur David Moore, over two days to "steal" magnums of Champagne and vintage Petrus wine. He claimed to be working for "rich Arab clients" and had to try several credit cards before the payment went through on three separate cards.
His other credit cards were not accepted, according to the report, which the man said was due to his clients' excessive demands "maxing" the cards' limits.
The restaurant became suspicious after a taxi was sent to pick up the order, and another demand worth £8,000 came through the next day.
The restaurant then pretended to process the second order, and persuaded the police to get involved, who interviewed the taxi driver and discovered he had been ordered to drive the haul to a McDonald's in Acton, west London.
Moore has reportedly said that restaurants are at risk of an increasingly sophisticated array of new techniques being employed by diners to avoid payment.
The entrepreneur also operates L'Autre Pied restaurant in Marylebone, smokehouse-style site One Sixty in West Hampstead, and ran 32-cover pop-up Pieds Nus until April 2014.