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Couple admits to dining and dashing at restaurants

BERNARD and Ann McDonagh have admitted to repeatedly dining at restaurants in south Wales and leaving without paying their bills, costing businesses over £2,000. They pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud at Swansea Magistrates’ Court. The court heard that they visited several restaurants, consumed food and drink, and then left without settling the bills.

The McDonaghs visited Bella Ciao restaurant on Castle Street in Swansea on April 19 this year and consumed £329.10 worth of food and drink without intending to pay. They also didn’t pay bills of £196 at Isabella’s restaurant in Porthcawl on March 27, £267 at River House restaurant in Swansea on August 9, 2023, £99.40 at Golden Fortune in Port Talbot on January 31, 2024, and £267.60 at La Casona restaurant in Skewen on February 24, 2024.

Ann McDonagh, aged 39, also admitted to four thefts by shoplifting. She stole clothing worth £442 from Tommy Hilfiger in Bridgend Designer Outlet on February 3, 2024, and items valued at £49 on February 17, 2024. Additionally, she took household items worth £426.60 from a Tesco Extra store in Swansea on September 6, 2023, and goods valued at £400 from Sainsbury’s at Bridgend Designer Outlet on February 25, 2024. Ann McDonagh also obstructed a police officer at Queen’s Road Police Station in Bridgend in February 2024.

District Judge Chris James noted the presence of children during the offences as an aggravating factor. Bernard McDonagh, aged 41, had a history of similar incidents.

The Bella Ciao incident prompted other restaurants to come forward after the restaurant shared a photo of the group on social media. La Casona reported a loss of almost £300. After their meal, four people left while one woman stayed with a young boy to ‘pay’. However, her card was declined, and she left briefly to supposedly get another card from her car, leaving the boy behind.