Family of eight 'dine and dash' leaving restaurant with £329 bill

A image of the family with their faces blurred
Moment brazen family of 8 leave Bella Ciao restaurant 'without paying bill' caught on CCTV -Credit:Bella Ciao

A family-of-eight have been denounced by a restaurant owner after they allegedly left Bella Ciao without paying their hefty £329 meal bill. The newly-opened Italian eatery hosted the group who indulged in T-bone steaks, guzzled down 15 bottles of soft drinks and relished double desserts.

The incident has caused a furore online with more than 12 million view on the CCTV footage shared by the restaurant in Port Talbot.

The family are said to have enjoyed the most pricey items from the menu before making their exit last Friday night without settling up. Tyrone Reese, restaurant manager, told the press that his wife grew suspicious when she spotted half-eaten dishes being returned.

"They were ordering the most expensive things on the menu, like T-bone steaks and the like," he said. "My wife said 'Something's not right.' They went full-on with their order but they were also sending plates back half empty."

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Tensions heightened when the mother's attempt to settle the bill using a savings account card was refused twice. According to reports by the Mirror, she informed the staff that her son would remain as collateral while she fetched her "other card".

However, she didn't return. Shortly afterwards, the boy unexpectedly took a phone call and promptly vacated the locale.

"Once he gets to the door, he runs," Rees said. "My son was about to go after him but I told him not to."

The restaurant was left in the lurch when the diners provided a fake phone number, rendering any follow-up impossible. In a bid to seek justice, Reese took the matter to the police.

After sharing the CCTV footage on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Reese expressed frustration to The Mirror: "I don't understand how they [the family] can get away with this. I'm paying my tax for police but I seem to be powerless. It annoys me to know this is happening and that they are getting away with it."

However, after detailing the shocking dine-and-dash incident on Ciao Bella's Facebook page, the restaurant experienced an unexpected surge in support. Bookings skyrocketed from 40 to an impressive 120 tables the next day.

Reese shared his amazement: "When we opened we had 15 phone calls wanting bookings after what happened last night," viewing the community's response as a heartwarming act of solidarity. "I took it as a sign of solidarity. I felt fantastic, not about the money but about how people reacted positively to such a negative situation."

It's worth noting that making off without payment is an offence punishable by up to two years in prison. The Mirror has reached out to South Wales Police for a statement.

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