Hampstead pensioner guilty of fine-dining spree at luxury London hotels
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A Hampstead pensioner who went on a drink-fuelled spree of unpaid fine dining in some of London’s most luxurious hotels was only caught because he left his spectacles behind, a court heard.
George Hammond, 70, and his partner-in-crime, Frederick Gross, 47, would don their best suits before wandering into a number of five-star hotels during a three-week period in April.
Targeting luxury hotels like The Dorchester in Park Lane and The Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, the fun-loving pair would pretend to be guests before ordering hundreds of pounds worth of food and drink from the bar/restaurant.
They would then leave without paying, Westminster Magistrates’ Court today heard.
But the fine-dining came to an end when Hammond, of Mansfield Road, Hampstead, accidently left his spectacles at the restaurant in the London Hilton, where he and Gross had made off without paying a £249 bill.
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Police then used the DNA seized from the pair of glasses, along with CCTV footage, to later arrest the pair. They both pleaded guilty on August 5 to four counts of making off without payment.
The judge described the crimes as “extremely dishonest behaviour”, with prosecutor Simma Khan, adding: “It was a deliberate spree over a period of time, deliberately targeting high-value venues to a total value of £765.”
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Goss, 47, of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, was described in court as a “career criminal” with his last offence back in 2003.
Preet Sadana, for Gross, said her client had run a string of successful businesses, which had collapsed shortly before the time of the offences.
The judge spared him jail, instead handing him a 12-month community order, including 100 hours unpaid work and a 12-month ban from entering any of the four hotels he scammed.
He was also ordered to pay £382 in compensation to the four hotels left out of pocket by his crimes.
Hammond, will be sentenced at a later date at Southwark Crown Court after breaching a suspended sentence for theft dating back to 2013.