St Albans businessman made off without paying hotel bill

Quality Hotel on London Road

Quality Hotel on London Road - Credit: Archant

A man from St Albans has pleaded guilty to making off without paying a hotel bill totalling more than £800 and four other offences.

Stewart Sanders of Stanley Avenue also pleaded guilty to two counts of making off without paying for fuel from BP and Esso garages in St Albans, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without insurance.

Sadat Etemadi, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Sanders checked into the Quality Hotel in St Albans on February 20 and checked out on March 3. Despite having paid more than £500 in cash to hotel staff for food and accommodation, Mr Sanders still left with an outstanding bill of £809.40.

Ms Etemadi said: “Several calls were made [to Mr Sanders by hotel staff] chasing the payment. At first he was apologetic and said payment would be made soon but later he disputed the value.”

The dispute arose from the fact that Mr Sanders left the hotel for work early each morning, before breakfast was served, and had therefore arranged to pay a reduced price for his accommodation, the court heard.

But Ms Clemence, defending, told the court that Mr Sanders, who had recently split up with his partner, was at a “particularly low ebb” and was struggling financially.

She said: “It isn’t the case that he went in [to the hotel] with the intention of not paying. Indeed, he initially paid £250.”

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Instead, according to Ms Clemence, Mr Saunders had been struggling to financially support and to visit his children, one of whom lived in Kentish Town.

She told the court: “My client had said to the hotel staff, ‘I will pay you as long as we come to an arrangement’.”

Then on August 8, Mr Sanders was pulled over by a police office as he left a shopping centre. The police officer, according to Ms Etemadi, could smell alcohol on Mr Sanders’ breath.

Mr Sanders admitted to the police office that he had “had a few pints of lager”.

Ms Etemadie said: “After that he was taken to the police station where a further test reading of 91 microgrammes per 100 millilitres was recorded.”

Mr Sanders is due to be sentenced on September 21.