A man who conned restaurants out of hundreds of pounds was inspired by the TV programme, The Real Hustle, a court has heard.
Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard that top-notch restaurants, including the TV chef Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in London and Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Cornwall were targeted in 23-year-old Carl Nevill’s scamming campaign.
Having seen a similar con on BBC’s The Real Hustle, Nevill approached several top restaurants, claiming a waiter had spilt wine on him during a meal and asked them to reimburse him for a £9 dry cleaning receipt. In reality Nevill had never been to any of the restaurants and had downloaded the receipt, which he sent to the restaurants as proof, from the internet.
He then altered the cheques he received by adding a zero, but was caught out when he tried to cash four of the cheques at a shop in Maidstone, raising suspicion among staff.
Nevill, from Croydon, pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud by false representation before magistrates on Monday November 30, and asked for another four offences to lie on file.
Investigating officer PC Steve Hobbs of Maidstone Police said those tempted to try out the cons portrayed in programmes like The Real Hustle should "remember there are also real consequences."
He added: "Unlike the television hustlers, real con artists can cause untold misery and deserve to be dealt with accordingly."
Nevill was fined £200, asked to pay court costs and also £90 in compensation each to The Fat Duck in London, Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Cornwall and The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe.