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Irish tourists' $114 dine and dash, 'shoved food' at staff

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 15 January 2019, 12:23p.m.

The family of Irish travellers who have run amok in Auckland allegedly tried to turn Mairangi Bay cafe staff members against each other before shoving plates into an employee and running away without paying.

On January 9, three members from the group entered the Montrose Cafe and ordered more than $110 worth of food during a breakfast binge.

According to restaurant manager Benjamin Salt, the three diners were continually ordering individual items and regularly adding food to their table in a bid to keep the staff busy and away from the table.

He told the Herald they were ordering items that weren't on the menu before making accusations of bullying against the boss.

Salt said they then tried to turn him against his boss by buying him a beer.

A man accused of being part of an unruly bunch of tourists. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
A man accused of being part of an unruly bunch of tourists. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

"They continued to ask for things so I'd have to go back to the kitchen and having to leave their sight.

"After annoying staff members with their rude behaviour and bizarre requests, they tried to get me onside and turn me against my boss by buying me a beer while I was on shift and getting me to sit down and have conversations.

"They started making comments saying he was bullying them, which was odd because he hadn't said or done anything towards the group.

"They were trying to get me onside to either discount their meal or get away with things."

Salt alleges the travellers were rude to other customers, including an attempt to hit on a female customer and making provocative comments.

On January 9 three members from the travellers entered the Montrose Cafe and allegedly shoved plates into an employee before running out without paying.
On January 9 three members from the travellers entered the Montrose Cafe and allegedly shoved plates into an employee before running out without paying.

After eating $114 worth of food, the travellers then allegedly tried to claim there was hair in their food before shoving dirty plates into Salt and making a run for it.

"They asked me for the total bill. I told them it was $114 and I had to repeat myself a few times before all of a sudden one of them said 'have a look at this, there is a hair in my food'."

"Our chefs all wear hair nets or their chef hats so there's zero chance of having any hair in their food.

"We were pretty sceptical but the chef came out to the table to apologise and we were going to take the item off their bill and then one shoved their food into me and when I went back to get rid of the plate they ran out the door.

"They were well rehearsed in their performance about the whole thing."

Salt said the group of three then drove off in a white rental van, the same vehicle the travellers have been using to get around Auckland and Hamilton.

The cafe says it is in the process of filing a police complaint.

It's not the first time the Irish travellers have attempted to scam restaurants in Auckland after they refused to pay for their meals at Mr India and The Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote.

Staff at Mr India and The Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote said a group ordered hundreds of dollars' worth of meals at their restaurants before refusing to pay because they claimed there was hair in the food.

A woman covers her face when approached by the Herald. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
A woman covers her face when approached by the Herald. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

The group also were accused of littering Takapuna Beach at the weekend.

An inner-city coffee shop lodged a complaint with police after a group refused to pay for a chocolate cake and abused the owner.

When the Herald tracked down some of the travellers as they checked out of the ibis Budget Hotel in the city centre yesterday, one of the men seen in Sunday's Takapuna Beach video warned there would be trouble if he was photographed.

The man said they were in New Zealand on holiday, before speeding off in a white van.

As he did so, his female passenger pulled her hoodie over her face and her door swung open, slamming into the car parked in front of them.

Roger Van Kempen, the manager of The Backyard Bar & Restaurant, said he recognised the man and little boy from the Takapuna video as part of a group of about 13 that caused a ruckus and tried to bully staff.

He claimed the group dined at his restaurant on January 3, put ants in their food and refused to pay for three meals worth about $55.

Challenged, one became aggressive.

"I looked at him and said, 'mate, you've got something coming. You either need to back up or get out'," Van Kempen said.

But the man continued to make a big scene, saying, "Do you know who we are?"

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