Ran up £777 bill at Downshire

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After checking into a Banbridge hotel for one night a 50-year-old woman stayed for 12 nights and ran up a bill of £777, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.

But staff became suspicious and when they checked the card she had given them it was declined by the bank.

Edith Ross, Brooke Gardens, Banbridge, admitted dishonestly obtaining services between January 8 and January 21 this year.

A public prosecutor said that police received a report from the Downshire Arms Hotel in relation to being defrauded out of £777.

She explained that on January 9 the defendant had checked into the hotel for one night using a Mastercard and ordered food and wine.

The prosecutor added that Ross extended her stay which lasted 12 nights. Staff became suspicious and checked her card which was declined.

The defendant left the hotel at 2.30pm on the 20th and was caught on CCTV and her own name was on the card.

Ross was later spoken to by police and said she only meant to stay one night and she had it in her mind to go back to the hotel to arrange payment but did not do that.

A barrister said she had fallen out with her partner and then buried her head in the sand about the matter.

He added that she accepted her wrongdoing and was very embarrassed and apologetic.

The lawyer said she should be able to raise the money between her family and friends.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said the enterprise was amateurish and ill thought out and she was destined to be caught.

He imposed a conditional discharge for two years and ordered Ross to pay £777 compensation.