The group had paid a €900 deposit at the El Carmen restaurant in Bembibre, in El Bierzo region in Castilla y Leon near the border with Galicia, but promised to settle the bill at the end of the meal. Instead, they all jumped up en masse and fled without paying the €2,000 balance.
Or rather, they snaked out of the restaurant dancing a conga and then jumped in their cars and sped away.
“It happened in the space of a minute,” restaurant owner Antonio Rodriguez told El Pais. “It was something they’d planned.”
It has now emerged that the same group, described by the restaurant owner as Roma from Romania, have a history of not paying their bill.
The same group of family and friends, dubbed the ‘kings of simpa’ – a diminutive of ‘sin pagar’ meaning without paying, are thought to be responsible for “doing a runner” earlier this year after celebrating a wedding banquet for a young couple at another restaurant in the region.
The owners of El Rincón de Pepín, a restaurant in nearby Ponferrada believes they fell victim to the same fraudsters in February when a group of 200 wedding guests “stampeded” out of the dining room just before the coffees were served.
“They had made a reservation for 100 but there was close to 200 people present,” one of the workers there told El Confidencial. “Just after eating their desserts when I was on my way to make coffee, they all upped and left.”
They left an outstanding bill of more than €10,000.
The restaurant claims to have tracked some of the culprits down after finding photographs of the occasion posted on Facebook and have lodged a complaint with the Guardia Civil who are investigating the incident.