Sunderland hotel fraudster caught out by DNA on forgotten toothbrush

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A fraudster failed to make a clean getaway after dodging paying his bill at a guest house - thanks to forensic evidence on a toothbrush linking him to the crime.

Michael Robson, of Norfolk Street, Sunderland, checked in at the Forest Guest House, in Ocean Road, South Shields, under a false name and claimed his wife would be paying for his stay and told staff there had been a flood at their home.

But he made a hasty exit three days later – also taking three keys belonging to the premises.

But police investigating the offence found a toothbrush that he used in his room, which had traces of his DNA.

The 35-year-oldadmitted charges of making off without payment and theft in connection with the offences at Forest Guest House, from Sunday, May 10 to Tuesday, May 12, at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that he also made off without paying at another bed and breakfast on the same street - Clifton Guest House - after telling them the same tale of a flooding at his home.

When landlady Elizabeth Carlucci suspected he was not going to pay his bill, he ran out of the premises, pushing her against a wall as he fled. The woman’s partner chased after him and detained him until police arrived.

Robson admitted charges of obtaining services dishonestly and assault by beating from May 14 - after initially denying the assault until the day of trial.

Gary Fothergill, prosecuting, said: “He entered the Forest Guest House on Sunday, May 10.

“But he left on the Tuesday without paying and took three keys belonging to the guest house.

“Police found a toothbrush he was using and it was sent off for forensic analysis, with his DNA found on the item.

“On May 12, he entered the Clifton Guest House and told them the same tale about a flood at his house.”

David Forrester, defending, said: “His relationship had broken down and he had been staying on friends’ sofas. This was a very unsophisticated attempt to get a few nights rest and recuperation.

“He is aghast to have a conviction for an assault on a female. It’s something he’s not proud of at all.

“He says he didn’t intentionally assault her.”

Robson also admitted further charges of fraud by false representation on May 11 - after obtaining a prescription from Lloyd’s Pharmacy in Newcastle under a false name - and a theft from the same pharmacy the next day.

He was given a 12 month community order and ordered to pay compensation of £293 to Clifton Guest House, £154 to Forest Guest House, £100 for the assault on Elizabeth Carlucci, £22.50 to Lloyd’s Pharmacy.

He must also pay court costs of £790, a victim surcharge of £60 and a criminal courts charge of £180 - making for a court bill of £1,600.