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Police hunt dine-and-dash couple who fled Chinese restaurant without paying £127 bill for into prawns on toast, ribs and crispy duck – as locals say they have done it throughout the area


  • A couple fled the Pearl Dragon restaurant in Southend, Essex, leaving a £127 bill
  • Dine-and-dash pair are believed to be racking up large bills in local restaurants

Police are hunting a ‘dine and dash’ couple who are suspected of preying on hard-pressed restaurants in a seaside resort.

The man and women are believed to be racking up large bills in restaurants in Southend, Essex, before doing a runner without paying their bill.

Today, the latest victim of the young couple spoke out and told how his business was being hit by ‘dine and dashers’ once every two months.

Steve Yeung, 52, the owner of The Pearl Dragon in Southend, Essex, said in the latest incident on Sunday, February 18, a man and woman fled without paying their £127 bill.

After posting CCTV stills of the pair on Facebook, Mr Yeung said many other businesses had come forward and it seemed they are prolific in the area.

Police are hunting a 'dine and dash' couple who are suspected of preying on hard-pressed restaurants in Southend, Essex

Police are hunting a ‘dine and dash’ couple who are suspected of preying on hard-pressed restaurants in Southend, Essex

The woman appeared respectably dressed

The man is said to have repeatedly came in and out of the restaurant

After posting CCTV stills of the pair on Facebook, business owner Steve Yeung said many other restaurants had come forward and it seemed they are prolific in the area.

Mr Yeung said: ‘So many people have called, emailed or come into the restaurant and the couple are apparently well known for leaving without paying.

‘They’re known for doing it – yet I had no clue until it happened to me.

‘Maybe we should have been pre-warned that two people were doing it all over the local area to such a degree – people just don’t want to go to the police over one bill.

‘This restaurant is my home and I have the same feeling as if someone came into my residential home and stole from me. They’ve abused our trust.’

The CCTV images show a bearded man and woman in a long grey coat entering the restaurant which has been run by Mr Yeung’s family since 1978.

The brazen pair – believed to be in their 30s – tucked into prawns on toast, ribs and crispy duck before washing it down with cokes and lemonades.

They then left without paying the bill for their four starters, four main courses and up to eight soft drinks.

Mr Yeung said: ‘Dining and dashing has definitely gone up in recent years, it used to be once in a blue moon – it was so infrequent you could remember each one.

‘We now probably see them now every couple of months with the one before this in December or November time, leaving behind a £180 bill.

Steve Yeung says the Pearl Dragon restaurant on the promenade in Southend has been run by his family since 1978. He says dine-and-dash customers were once a rarity but are now becoming common

Steve Yeung says the Pearl Dragon restaurant on the promenade in Southend has been run by his family since 1978. He says dine-and-dash customers were once a rarity but are now becoming common

‘As a business, you have to become more aware of it and it does unfortunately mean you become judgmental.

‘It shouldn’t have to be like that – I hate it has come to this.’

The Pearl Dragon has not only seen an increase in customers not paying their bills, but was also victim to being burgled four times in two weeks last July.

Mr Yeung said: ‘The £127 is not something we as a business can absorb and that was a lot of food and drink.

‘We started getting suspicious a couple of hours in because the gentleman kept going outside and in and outside again.

‘To begin with, there was nothing to be concerned about – there was nothing excessive – no lobster, or alcoholic drinks.

‘We can’t let this kind of incident beat us but it’s just incredibly depressing.’

Essex Police confirmed they are investigating the incident.

A spokesman said: ‘We have received an allegation of theft that took place at a restaurant in Eastern Esplanade, Southend, on Sunday, February 18.

‘It was reported a man and woman ordered food at the restaurant and left without paying.’



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