Man who fled award-winning Oundle restaurant without paying slapped with large fine

A man who fled from an award-winning Oundle restaurant without paying has been ordered to fork out £1,800.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 6:18 am
The Tap and Kitchen in Oundle

Greg Kirkham (51) racked up a £90.80 bill at the Tap and Kitchen in Station Road on September 2 last year but decided he was not going to pay and walked out with his fellow diner.

Restaurant co-owner David Burnett said they “ate and drank well,” but Kirkham’s plan to avoid paying hit a rather obvious flaw - the pair had booked under their own name and phone number and their licence plate was seen on CCTV.

The information was passed onto police and Kirkham and another woman, 45-year-old Louise Burton, were charged with making off without payment.

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The case against Burton was later dropped but Kirkham, of Orchard Street in Market Harborough, originally denied the ‘dine and dash’.

He was later convicted at Northampton Crown Court and must now pay a total of £1,840.80 - more than 20 times what he would have paid if he had simply paid for what he ordered at the restaurant.

The bill was made up of a £500 fine, £1,200 in prosecution costs, £90.80 in compensation and a £50 surcharge to fund victim services.

Dine and dashes have made national headlines in recent years after it was revealed some chains were docking staff wages if it happened.

Mr Burnett said: “We were told by the police that it’s very rare that these incidents are reported.

“It’s not a victimless crime. In many cases the staff pay and in our case the owners pay.

“It’s a terrible example that if you allow people to thieve you let them get away with it.

“We couldn’t have that happening.”

The Tap and Kitchen, which prides itself on honest dishes using locally-sourced ingredients, was named restaurant of the year at the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards in 2015/16 and was a runner-up in 2017/18.