Some 120 diners celebrating a baptism at a restaurant in northwestern Spain, last weekend upped sticks just before dessert was served and ran off without paying.
The group had paid a €900 deposit at the El Carmen restaurant in Bembibre, in El Bierzo region in Castilla y Leon near the border with Galicia, but promised to settle the bill at the end of the meal. Instead, they all jumped up en masse and fled without paying the €2,000 balance.
Or rather, they snaked out of the restaurant dancing a conga and then jumped in their cars and sped away.
“It happened in the space of a minute,” restaurant owner Antonio Rodriguez told El Pais. “It was something they’d planned.”
It has now emerged that the same group, described by the restaurant owner as Roma from Romania, have a history of not paying their bill.
The same group of family and friends, dubbed the ‘kings of simpa’ – a diminutive of ‘sin pagar’ meaning without paying, are thought to be responsible for “doing a runner” earlier this year after celebrating a wedding banquet for a young couple at another restaurant in the region.
The owners of El Rincón de Pepín, a restaurant in nearby Ponferrada believes they fell victim to the same fraudsters in February when a group of 200 wedding guests “stampeded” out of the dining room just before the coffees were served.
“They had made a reservation for 100 but there was close to 200 people present,” one of the workers there told El Confidencial. “Just after eating their desserts when I was on my way to make coffee, they all upped and left.”
The Guardia Civil police declined to confirm media reports that the fleeing diners were from Eastern Europe, but an official from the force said they were not Spanish nationals.
“We know roughly where they are,” he added