Sunderland pub pizza scam: How trying to score a free meal could land you in trouble with the law

Women who tried to scam a free meal by slipping hair into their food have been the talk of Sunderland today.

Monday, 4th February 2019, 2:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:31 pm
Two women tried to scam a free meal at a Sunderland pub by putting hair in their pizza.

The pair were caught on CCTV at The Peacock in Sunderland adding strands of their own hair to the pizza they had ordered, before complaining to staff about their meal.

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They were initially given a refund and a free round of drinks by way of an apology - but CCTV footage revealed the reality behind the scam.

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Now, calls have been made by Echo readers to "name and shame" the pair, with many expressing disgust at their "pathetic" actions over the food and drink, which cost just £7.

We have taken a look at the law surrounding contaminating your own food - and what could happen if you are caught.

A spokeswoman from Northumbria Police confirmed to the Echo that further action could be taken against a customer who tried to pull off such a scam.

Two women tried to scam a free meal at a Sunderland pub by putting hair in their pizza.

She said: "Technically an offender may be charged with fraud by false representation and then, depending on previous offences, could face a caution or something more serious."

According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), there are three ways of committing fraud under The Fraud Act 2006.

Fraud by false representation is defined as follows: When a defendant made a false representation dishonestly, knowing that the representation might be untrue or misleading, with intent to make a gain for themselves or another, to cause loss to another or expose another to a risk of loss.

The incident happened at The Peacock in Sunderland.

The offence is entirely focused on the conduct of the defendant concerned - and the defendant must intend to make the gain or cause the loss by means of false representation.

Two further ways to commit fraud are by failure to disclose information where there is a legal duty to do so, and by abuse of position.

CPS guidance states that in each case:

*The defendant's conduct must be dishonest;

The two were seen on CCTV putting things into the food.

*His/her intention must be to make a gain; or cause a loss or the risk of a loss to another

*No gain or loss needs actually to have been made.

The maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment.