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A pair enjoyed pricey meals and bolted when it was time to pay. Their dine and dash ended in jail

LONDON (AP) — A Welsh couple who dined out on pricey meals and bolted when the bill came is now paying the price — behind bars.

Bernard and Ann McDonagh were sentenced to prison on Wednesday for fraud after running up tabs they didn't pay for, including three-course meals, the finest cuts of meat and double portions of dessert.

Judge Paul Thomas said in Swansea Crown Court that their dine and dash spree was driven by “pure and utter greed.”

“You were not going to these places to feed you and your family, it was criminality for criminality’s sake — to see if you could get away with it,” he said. “I have no doubt, apart from the greed element, you had got a buzz out of what you were able to get away with.”

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Even worse, the judge said, they were “ruthlessly exploitative" in using their children in the ploy.

When a bank card was declined for lack of funds, they would leave at least one of six children behind at the table while they ostensibly went to retrieve money from a cash machine.

They never returned to pay up and the children would eventually flee to a waiting vehicle.

The couple, who covered their faces as they hustled into court, previously pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud. They stiffed four restaurants and a Chinese takeout business of nearly 1,170 pounds ($1,485) in crimes that dated back to last fall, a prosecutor said.

The two, who have several previous convictions and used more than 40 aliases, got caught after restaurants posted images of them on social media.

Ann McDonagh, 39, who also admitted four counts of shoplifting, was sentenced to 12 months in prison. She also admitted obstructing a constable when she lied that she was nine months pregnant to get out of jail after being arrested. She was not expecting a child at the time.

Her attorney, Andrew Evans, said she was grieving deaths in the family, though he didn't elaborate. He said she may have carried out the crimes to “make herself feel better.”

Bernard McDonagh, 41, was sentenced to eight months behind bars.

Defense lawyer Giles Hayes said the husband was “deeply embarrassed and ashamed” and had brought the money to court to reimburse the restaurants.

Brian Melley, The Associated Press