Dine-and-dash family did same to us, say out-of-pocket restaurateurs

Family at Bella Ciao in Swansea
The family were captured on CCTV at Bella Ciao in Swansea, Wales - Triangle News /Facebook/Bella Ciao

Police have launched an investigation following a spate of dine-and-dash incidents that restaurateurs claim may be linked to one family.

The customers are suspected of seven separate incidents where they have racked up bills totalling more than £1,000 and fled.

Restaurants have publicly accused one family of targeting establishments within a 30-mile radius, claiming there were up to eight people eating large meals and then leaving without payment.

A middle-aged couple who own a blue Ford transit van are alleged to be at the centre of the operation.

The latest incident is said to have occurred at Bella Ciao, a newly opened restaurant in Swansea, with a £329 bill going unpaid.

It is alleged the family also dined at Yard in Cowbridge; River House in Swansea; the Somerset Arms in Port Talbot; the Longbow Beefeater in Pontyclun and La Casone in Kewen without settling their tabs.

Bella Ciao claimed a woman who was part of the group had tried to pay with a savings account card but the transaction was declined.

The woman said her son would wait inside while she went to get another card but she did not return and the son also fled, according to the restaurant.

Family at Bella Ciao
One of the party attempted to pay with a savings account card which was declined - Triangle News/Facebook/Bella Ciao

Tyrone Reese, the manager of the family-run business, said they reported it to the police, adding: “They were ordering the most expensive things on the menu, T-bone steaks and the like.”

The alleged dine-and-dash video, featuring the accused family, was posted to Bella Ciao’s social media pages and received more than 12 million views.

After posting the clip, other restaurants came forward to allege they had also been targeted by the group.

La Casona in Skewen, around six miles from Swansea, claimed it was left £300 out of pocket after the suspects failed to pay their bill in February.

Police said not an emergency

The restaurant said: “After the meal, four people have already left our restaurant. One lady stayed with a young boy to ‘pay’. The woman tried to pay with a card which was declined.

“She said she would get another card from the car. We asked the boy to stay and wait for her in the restaurant.

“She left, and 10 seconds later, the boy started to run to the car. We called the police as soon as it happened.

“The police responded that this was not an emergency and that we could only report them, which we did.”

Three restaurants that the family is said to have eaten at this year claim they have collectively lost around £800.

In November, Chilli Too, an Indian restaurant in Clydach, also accused the group of skipping out on their bill. A post on its Facebook page with CCTV pictures said: “Does anyone recognise this family? Made off without paying over £150 worth of food.

“It’s difficult enough running a business these days without disgusting behaviour like this taking place. Anyone has any details please drop us a private message.”

Leaving a restaurant without paying is a crime and carries a prison sentence of up to two years.

South Wales Police said: “Investigations are ongoing to establish the full circumstances behind the incidents and to identify those involved.”