‘Dine and Dash’ crimes must stop in West Yorkshire
Thousands of dine-and-dashers ran off without paying in West Yorkshire last year, according to new figures.
Industry representatives have now spoken out, saying that leaving without paying for services - including meals, petrol, or taxi journeys - is akin to “stealing someone’s wages” and could leave innocent people unable to provide for their families.
The Home Office figures reveal West Yorkshire Police recorded 3,094 ‘making off without payment offences’ in the 12 months to September 2018.
This was a decrease of 14 per cent compared to three years ago, bucking the national trend. However, the proportion of offenders being charged by police has fallen.
In 2014-15, the police brought charges in 3 per cent of cases. But by 2017-18, this had fallen to 1 per cent, with charges brought just 41 times.
Making off without payment is when a person dishonestly leaves despite knowing that payment is due on the spot.
Offences have risen by 48 per cent across England and Wales in the last three years, while the proportion of offenders being charged has fallen from just under 5 per cent to less than 2 per cent.
Federation of Small Businesses chairman, Mike Cherry, said the rise was being exacerbated by police cuts: “This can’t be allowed to continue – lots of businesses have very tight margins and it’s time to stop tolerating opportunistic thieves taking food off the family table.
“If the police are not able to meet the needs of businesses across the country, then the government should step in and give the authorities the funding they need to tackle this problem.”
Some police forces claim such incidents are a civil rather than criminal matter and refuse to investigate.