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How Police Caught Two Dine-and-Dashers Using Drinking Straws

Earlier this year, two friends enjoyed a meal at a Manchester restaurant, racking up a bill of £57. But instead of stumping up the cash, they made a run for it.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
Photo via Flickr user Matt

We've all received an unexpectedly hefty restaurant bill and thought about making a run for it sans payment. The movies make it look so easy: ask a particularly trusting waitress for the check, say you're going for a quick cigarette, and exit seconds after the bells on the diner door have stopped jangling—ideally on a motorbike and down a Californian highway.

Of course, there are some diners who actually have the balls (and appropriate footwear) to run out of restaurants without paying the bill.


Like Nathan Burgess and Jordan O'Neill, for example.

Earlier this year, the pair enjoyed a meal at a Manchester branch of Frankie and Benny's, spending £57 in total. But instead of stumping up the cash for their high street Italian-American feast, they left. Waiters were unable to stop them and called the police.

READ MORE: True Tales of Amsterdam's Worst Dine-and-Dashers

Unfortunately for Burgess and O'Neill, their table hadn't yet been cleared and police officers were able to swipe the drinking straws the pair had been using. DNA samples were recovered from the straws and run through the national police database.

And, in the words of everyone's favourite dating app, it was a match! Profiles for both men were already stored on the database and a police appeal was issued. Both Burgess and O'Neill were subsequently found and arrested, charged this week with "making off without payment." They also had to pay their bill in full.

Not a bad result from a couple of bendy plastic tubes. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, PC Tim Evans praised the straw-snatching officers: "It was on the basis of them making that decision, to get the DNA off the straws, that we got the evidence to establish who the offenders were."

READ MORE: This Is Britain's Most Popular Restaurant for First Dates

It's not the first time police have used human particles to track down quick-footed diners. Last month, a businessman and pensioner who made off without paying their £249 bill at a London Hilton hotel were identified after one of the men left his glasses on the table—glasses that contained a good dose of DNA (d'oh)

While identifying people using bits of skin is all very cool and CSI, there is something to be said for the Dutch way of dealing with dine-and-dashers. Namely following them out of the restaurant, chasing them into a nearby bar, and throwing their shoes in the canal when they refuse to pay up.

No amount of free garlic bread is worth that kind of trouble.