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Police hunt respectable couple who have conned pubs and hotels out of thousands across Suffolk

A respectable-looking middle-aged couple who have conned pubs and hotels out of thousands of pounds across South Suffolk are being hunted by police.

The plausible pair target up-market country pubs and hotels and run up huge bills for meals and drinks - but when they come to pay their card is declined and they manage to talk their way out of it by promising to return the next day

But they never do and police think they may have struck a dozen times in East Anglia.

Swan Monks Eleigh Google Maps (43110600)
Swan Monks Eleigh Google Maps (43110600)

Now one victim, a landlady who was swindled by the pair is warning others business to watch out for the pair.

Julie Penney, who runs a successful village pub The Swan in Monks Eleigh said: "They gave us a local address and promised to return the next day. But when we went to check we were told the man had moved out.

"They are very confident and chatty and she even joked about it when the man went outside to smoker a cigarette and assured us he would be coming back.

"I have since discovered that the same pair have been operating this con all over the region - and the money they owe runs into thousands of pounds. We caught their images on CCTV and I have now put them on Facebook as a warning to other people in the trade."

The pub has also handed over CCTV footage which shows the pair leaving.

The couple give an address in Long Melford but inquires reveal they moved some months ago.

They tried their scam in nearby Lavenham but one suspicious landlord took their car keys when the pair's card was declined.

John Raines who runs the historic Angel Hotel in Lavenham, said:"They had been staying here for three nights and run up a bill of £1,100. But when it came to pay the card they used was declined.

"Then the bloke suffered a sudden heat attack and collapsed - an ambulance and a paramedic were called and he was taken to hospital. He later claimed he had suffered a panic attack.

"I said they would have to leave something as security so I was given the keys of their Mini which was worth about £2,500.

"The woman came back the next day with another woman she said was her mother and paid the bill in full.

"It's just not on to bilk pubs and hotels - we are having a very tight time and the last thing we want is con-artists trying to cheat us. I was told they had also run up a bill at another hotel in the village and that the total they owe is more than £5,000."

The same couple are also believed to have run up a bill of almost £200 at the Marquis pub at Layham near Hadleigh

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said:"We have received three complaints about two people at the Waterfront Bistro in Ipswich in September who ate a meal to the value of £95.00 and when they attempted to pay on their card they have had their payment declined. They gave false details and failed to return and make payment for the meal.

"A few days later at the Marquis of Cornwallis in Layham two people ate a meal to the value of £197 - again the card was declined and they gave false details and failed to go back and pay.

"Two weeks ago at the Swan Inn Monks Eleigh two people had a meal, again the card was declined and again they gave false details and failed to go back and make payment.

"We believe that all three cases are linked to the same individuals and enquiries are on-going."

The police spokesman added:"Making off without payment for meals is simply unacceptable. This type of activity whatever the value can result in a criminal conviction which can have a serious impact on someone's life."

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