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23rd Mar 2015

‘Rodent fraudster’ releases rat in Valentine’s Day restaurant blag

What happened to the pet rat?


Have you ever been so reluctant to spend seven quid on a Valentines Day buffet that you set a pet rat loose in a restaurant?

Probably not. Neither have we (honest). But Christopher Baker from Sunderland has.

Staff were shocked and customers put off their romantic but wallet-friendly dinners in a popular buffet bistro last year when the Mackem fraudster leapt out of his seat and started screaming about a rat and stormed out, a magistrates court has heard.

But before the 28-year-old chancer returned to claim a refund, staff watched the CCTV and saw him releasing the poor creature into the restaurant and – of course – immediately smelt a rat.

When the owner of the restaurant retrieved the roaming rodent from the floor it was a “calm” black and white rat; not the nasty sewer or brown variety usually associated with eatery invasions.

A local pest control team also confirmed it was a pet. Mr Baker had been rumbled.

The owner of Borneo Bistro, Kevin Smith, said that despite the creature being calm and clean, he released the innocent rat into “the wild” of Tyne & Wear, where it’s ultimate fate remains unknown. But it’s probably dead: Let’s face it.

Police were called and Baker ultimately pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was sentenced to a 12-month community order and told to pay a £60 victim surcharge and £7.25 (the price of the buffet in the first place) to the owner.

He was also barred for a year from the premises, but we imagine he’s unlikely ever to darken their door again, as the furious owner of the restaurant told the Sunderland Echo that Baker was “scum of the earth” and could have ruined his livelihood, saying:

“People like him deserve the death penalty”

Steady now, Kev: Executing people for trying to blag their way out of a buffet is probably not the way. 

Main image: Jim Kenefick/Flickr