Conman went on two-day £700 bender at Wensleydale pubs — then left without paying, court hears

The Wyvill Arms.

A conman went on a solo £700 bender at two Wensleydale pubs and left without paying a penny, a court heard this week.

In the space of two days, Phillip Moss sank 16 pints, 15 vodkas, eight Jagermeisters, four large glasses of Zinfandel, two gins, a bottle of prosecco and a bottle of rose.

He also helped himself to two fillet steak dinners, a steak pie and a £30 mixed grill before leaving without paying.

The only contact number the pubs had for him was for someone Moss, 39, claimed was his wife – but when they called the number a woman answered who had never heard of him.

For almost six years the elusive Moss’s bill has gone unpaid but now the law has finally caught up with him.

He was tried in his absence at York Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and a warrant issued for his immediate arrest, which may happen in hospital where he is currently waiting for knee surgery.

Construction worker Moss’s marathon spree took place in November 2018 when he left the Wyvill Arms at Constable Burton, without settling his bill of £475.50.

He told landlord Nigel Stephens he would soon be back with the cash – but instead he went straight to the Countryman’s Inn at nearby Hunton and booked himself in for two nights and a slap up meal.

This time he left a bill of £220.90 after landlord Tony Jackson and locals helped him change a flat tyre on his car.

Despite being arrested soon after the offences it has taken six years to come to court after a string of excuses from Moss, in which time Mr Jackson has died.

However, Nigel Stephens gave evidence and was asked by prosecutor Samantha Laws whether Moss had consumed alcohol at the Wyvill.

He said: “Oh, yes! He consumed quite a lot of alcohol and enjoyed the food as well.

“He was sitting on his own on his phone and kept telling the staff his wife would be arriving to eat with him.

“After he’d eaten his first meal I went to see that everything was Ok and he stood up and shook my hand saying it was one of the best meals he’d ever had. He made himself very comfortable in the bar.

“His wife never arrived and after his dinner he took himself off to the room he’d booked. The following morning when he got up he ordered two more pints and that’s when I started to feel something was amiss.

“He’d had a lot of drink and food and it was obvious he was about to get tanked up again.

“We asked for payment for the previous night’s food and drink before we went any further. He said he had to go to his car and we never saw him again.”

Moss went straight to the Countryman’s and booked for another two nights, taking a seat at the bar and continuing his binge.

A statement taken by police after the fraud from Tony Jackson was read to the court.

He said: “I suspected he would not be up early after all the alcohol he’d drank. I was uncomfortable about it, things didn’t add up and we hadn’t taken payment.

“When he came out of his room he asked if someone had been near his car because the tyre had been slashed.”

Tony and locals helped Moss change the tyre and he said he was going for cash in the nearby town of Leyburn but never returned.

The card details he had left behind failed to work, with the message on the card reader saying: “Do not honour.”

Police were called and Moss was arrested after being traced through his bank details.

He told police: “I wasn’t dishonest, the money wasn’t in my bank because my wages weren’t paid into my account as they should have been. I’m willing to pay the bills.”

However he failed to honour his pledge and the case eventually came to court on Wednesday January 31.

Moss, from Blackpool, Lancs, did not attend, saying he was in hospital in Preston awaiting knee surgery.

However magistrates declined an application to vacate the trial after a previous string of court cancellations from Moss relating to health or injury.

He was tried and convicted in his absence and the bench indicated an arrest warrant would be issued if he fails to attend the sentencing on a date to be fixed.

Magistrates were told he had 32 previous convictions – seven of them for fraud.

The presiding JP, Richard Goodacre, said: “Mr Moss did gain from transactions at both premises in terms of accommodation and a considerable amount of food and drink.

“We are satisfied he did this intentionally through false representation by use of declined credit cards and promises to pay at a later date – promises that never came to fruition.

“These fall on his shoulders and we find him guilty.”