'Idiot of the week' ran off from Burnley restaurant without paying

A crook was called “idiot of the week" by a magistrate, after he did a runner from an Italian restaurant and landed himself a near £300 "bill".

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 9:25 am
Updated Monday, 2nd December 2019, 11:12 am

Robert Wallace had eaten a large dinner and got drunk on a bottle of wine before legging it from The Palazzo in Burnley, without paying for the £43 meal.

He was stopped by staff after getting in a taxi, but refused to return to the eatery and cough up. Wallace was abusive, bordering on aggressive, kept shouting and causing a disturbance and upset the employees, a court heard.

The 28-year-old wasn’t apologetic when arrested after the 6-30pm trouble and told police: "If I want to go out and run up a £100 food bill, then I will do.”

Burnley Magistrates' Court

The jobless defendant had to eat his words at the town’s magistrates’ court, when he was fined £120, with a £32 victim surcharge and £85 costs and was told to pay £43.85 compensation to the restaurant.

His outburst came not long after the same court had been told how Wallace went out thieving and was nabbed when he went back in the same shop hours later and police were there viewing CCTV of the crime.

He had been collared after he returned to Kitchens Garage in Burnley, wearing the same distinctive outfit of blue top and blue and yellow shorts he had had on when he earlier walked out with a basket of booze and food.

He had become aggressive and irate and threatened the manager: "I will knock your head off.” The defendant was handcuffed and arrested, the hearing was told.

Mr Mark Williams (defending) said he had not gone in the restaurant intending not to pay.

The solicitor said: "He believed he had his bank card on him. Rather then doing the sensible thing and speaking to members of staff and leaving some details, he decided he would just simply leave without paying. He ran away from the restaurant after saying he wasn’t able to pay. Police tracked him down and arrested him.”

Wallace, of Sandhurst Street, Burnley, admitted making off without payment and being drunk and disorderly, on November 6th.

Sentencing, Mr Graham Jagger, chairman of the Bench, told Wallace what he had done was entirely unacceptable.

He continued: "It turned out to be a very, very expensive meal - £280.85 for a meal and bottle of wine. That makes you idiot of the week."