'Dine and Dash' Couple Jailed After Racking Up ‘Huge' Restaurants Bills: ‘Brazen Offending’

Married Welsh couple Ann and Bernard McDonagh failed to pay bills at five restaurants

<p>South Wales Police </p> Ann and Bernard McDonagh.

South Wales Police

Ann and Bernard McDonagh.

A married couple from Wales have been jailed after a series of dine and dash offenses.

Ann McDonagh, 39, and Bernard McDonagh, 41, from Sandfields, Port Talbot, U.K., have been sentenced following "several incidents of non-payment of restaurant bills and shoplifting," per a May 29 press release shared by South Wales Police.

Ann was charged with five counts of fraud and four counts of theft (shoplifting), while her husband was charged with five counts of fraud, the release stated.

Ann has been sentenced to one year in prison, and Bernard will spend eight months behind bars.

The charges come after the pair pleaded guilty to the charges at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, May 8.

<p>South Wales Police/Youtube</p> Bernard McDonagh has been jailed amid charges.

South Wales Police/Youtube

Bernard McDonagh has been jailed amid charges.

Police confirmed the affected restaurants included Bella Ciao and River House, Swansea; La Casona, Skewen; Golden Fortune, Port Talbot; and Isabella’s, Porthcawl.

Ann also pleaded guilty to shoplifting charges affecting Tommy Hilfiger and Sainsbury’s at McArthurGlen Bridgend Designer Outlet and Tesco Extra, Swansea, as well as "obstructing a police officer in the course of their duty at Queen’s Road Police Station, Bridgend," per the release.

Inspector Andrew Hedley said, “The prolific and brazen offending of Ann and Bernard McDonagh rightly caught the attention of a large percentage of the local public. It is great to see that justice has now been served in the form of these sentences and thank those members of public who assisted with the investigation," seemingly referencing the images of the couple that have been circulating online in recent months.

“They deliberately ran up huge bills at restaurants which they had no intention of paying. This had a significant impact on the premises they targeted, one of which was newly-opened at the time. Reducing and preventing business and retail crime is a priority within Swansea City, and any crime will be fully investigated, with those found offending, brought to justice," Hedley added.

“Ann and Bernard McDonagh clearly felt that the law did not apply to them. This sentencing shows that it does," he continued.

According to outlets including RTE, the Guardian, and the BBC, the restaurant bills totaled more than $1,271 (£1,000). They reportedly used more than 40 names and 18 dates of birth between them.

Per RTE, the couple would order expensive food and drink before leaving without paying, sometimes leaving a child in the restaurant while claiming they were going out to an ATM to get cash. The children would then run off, the outlet claimed.

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Ann also took items worth over $1,293 (£1,017.60) at stores including Tommy Hilfiger, the outlet stated. The offenses took place from fall 2023 to spring 2024.

"You were not going to these places to feed you and your family, it was criminality for criminality’s sake - to see if you could get away with it," Judge Paul Thomas said during the sentencing, per RTE, calling them using children to wait in the eateries "ruthlessly exploitative."

South Wales Police didn't immediately respond when contacted by PEOPLE for comment.

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