‘Charity walker’ swindled hotel freebie

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Ilfracombe man told hotel staff he was on a coastal charity walk.

A MAN who swindled a free stay at a Topsham hotel after claiming to be on a coastal charity walk has received a 12-week suspended jail sentence.

Earlier this month Christopher Payne, 28, of Fortescue Road, Ilfracombe, admitted swindling two nights’ free accommodation at the Globe Hotel, plus his food and drink.

Exeter Magistrates were told how Payne phoned Topsham’s Globe Hotel ahead of his visit, telling staff a family member would be arriving, and booking a room with false credit card details.

During his two-night stay, Payne ordered meals and drinks.

After his stay in Topsham, the court heard how the defendant stayed at the Royal York and Faulkner Hotel, in Sidmouth.

Payne admitted two charges of obtaining services dishonestly, enjoying free hotel accommodation, food and drink in Topsham and Sidmouth.

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The court heard how hotel staff at Sidmouth checked Payne’s card details when concerns were raised over his excessive bill and the defendant was escorted by hotel porter to a town cash point machine.

When the defendant’s card was declined, Payne ran off, becoming aggressive when the porter caught up with him.

The staff member returned to the hotel, called the police, and Payne was arrested.

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