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Australian police hunt group of rowdy 'Irish' mums suspected of scamming restaurants by placing glass in meals in bid to claim free food

Ella Wills
Evening Standard
A picture of a group alleged to be the women has been circulated on social media: Facebook

Australian police are hunting a group of 'Irish' mothers who they suspect are scamming restaurants in a bid to claim free meals and drinks.

The “boisterous” fraudsters are said to “trash” restaurants and cafes while attempting to get let off the bill.

One restaurant owner accused the women of placing glass into their meal and demanding a refund.

At least six businesses in Brisbane and the nearby suburbs of Spring Hill and Fortitude Valley have been targeted by the gang over the last week.

A restaurant owner posted a picture of a shard of glass said to have been placed in a meal by the scammers Facebook

Police told news.com.au they are aware of a number of similar incidents involving the group and urged businesses to come forward.

Marie Yokoyama warned others in the industry to watch out for the women after they allegedly pulled the scam at her restaurant Birds Nest Rest last week, making off with around £100 ($180) worth of food and drinks.

She wrote on Facebook: “There are a group of fraudster Irish girls going around Brisbane claiming they find glass in their food and then demand everything for free.”

Ms Yokoyama said one lady started screaming halfway through her meal that there was glass in her food and that her mouth as bleeding.

Other businesses said they had been targeted by the fraudsters

She added: “Upon inspection I knew that this had not come from our restaurant but they were relentless. We don't have any thick glass of this sort in the restaurant. I was so scared and terrified of them that I made their meals and drinks free.”

The restaurateur added that the group refused to leave after the incident, demanding more drinks and letting their children running around the restaurant.

She said she kept the glass shard “because I was so confident it had not come from us”.

“Honestly these were the worst customers (if you can call them that) that I have ever had in my life and I want to make sure that they don't pull this scam on anyone else. For the first time in ever - these people drove me to scream my head off at a customer,” she said.

Luke Purnell, a member of staff at nearby pub, said he helped to remove the crowd.

He told Channel 7: “They were very boisterous, very drunk, you could tell they’d been at it all day.”

And it appears it was not the first time such an incident has occurred.

On Thursday, a coffee shop owner told local media several “aggressive” women came into his outlet demanding they receive their lunch for free.

They claimed they had been served the wrong food on a previous occasion.

While at least three restaurants in the area replied to Ms Yokoyama on Facebook and claimed they had been scammed by the group.

One woman shared a picture of a group of women alleged to be the scammers.

She said it had been originally posted on a hospital forum in Brisbane last week by a hotel.

Queensland police said they are aware of the incident and are making follow up inquiries.

"Police urge any businesses that have been a victim of similar offences to contact them.

"Restaurateurs are reminded that if patrons are refusing to leave the premises or they have safety concerns to contact police immediately."

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