Man jailed after dodging restaurant bills

Gavin Cole
Gavin Cole
Have your say

A DRUNKEN customer who ran from two restaurants without paying has been jailed after showing a “breathtaking arrogance towards the law”.

Gavin Cole, of Cleadon, ran up bills of £175 in two eateries before fleeing both when he didn’t have the cash to pay.

The 37-year-old downed whiskey, vodka and beer as well as dining on an all-you-can-eat buffet at Kylin in South Tyneside on June 18.

His card was declined when he tried to pay the £60 tab and he left. Two weeks later, he feasted on fillet steaks, spirits and a £40 bottle of wine at Da Vinci’s in the same street, but fled as he was unable to settle the £115 bill.

Cole, of South End, Cleadon, pleaded guilty to two counts of making off without paying when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court earlier this month. The case was adjourned until this week for a probation service report about him. After reading it, magistrates jailed Cole for eight weeks.

Chairman of the bench Geoff Usher said: “Your actions present a level of arrogance towards the law that is breathtaking.

“You have an appalling offending history, and the probation officer classes you as being a high risk of re-offending.”

Cole, a former joiner, was convicted of drink-driving and shoplifting twice this year, and for possessing a Class A drug.

Orla Davey, defending, said Cole was used to a good wage and, after losing his job, did not appreciate the value of money.

She said: “He is on benefits and he could not afford to pay.

“He was used to a good wage and lifestyle. He doesn’t recognise the value of money – that’s why he had a £40 bottle of wine.”

Cole’s girlfriend, Stella Ames, appeared on one count of making off without payment – relating to the meal at Kylin.

The 27-year-old, of Gosforth Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty and was fined £110, with £85 costs, £29.82 compensation and a £20 victim surcharge.