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How the two girls fiddled the easy life...

A Former friend of the girls told how they conned a string of restaurants across Essex and London out of hundreds of pounds.

She said: "It was Sophie's idea mainly. We would have something to eat at a pizza place or an Italian.

"But when it came to paying we would pretend she had left our cheque cards at home. We would write out a cheque for the meal and then produce another form of ID to back it.

"We just turned on the charm and the restaurants fell for it every time.

"Sophie told us we would get away scot free.

"And she said the banks would not have to pay any money from our account because there was no cheque card guarantee. Sarah did it at least twice but wasn't that sure. Sometimes the bill would be pounds 40 and others upto pounds 150.

"We just stuffed ourselves silly for nothing.

"It is only now that the banks have started sending letters ordering us to pay up.

"I have never been in so much trouble in my life since I started hanging around with those two." The pair hit the Cafe Rouge in Loughton, Essex, twice in one month earlier this year.

Assistant manager Kyri Solomon said: "They were really quite brazen. There were never any cheque guarantee cards."

Holt and Bird also caused pounds 500 worth of damage when they smashed an estate agent's window. The troublesome pair did the damage last July.

Police were called to the incident at Arbon and Upton's estate agents in South Woodford, Essex, and the pair were cautioned.

The pair pulled a fast one at a garage in Woodford, Essex, when they left a dud cheque.

Sophie sweet-talked her way out of having to back her cheque with a guarantee card - just write a false address and phone number on the back.

The cheque for pounds 29.41 bounced and manager Raj Sejpal was left to pick up the bill himself.

Yesterday furious Raj said: "I lost that money out of my own pocket thanks to that girl.

"If I got hold of her I would kill her."
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Oct 27, 1996

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