Stoke Newington director �5k dine-and-dash to impress posh girl

Filmmaker’s desperation to hold on to ‘high maintenance’ girlfriend led to restaurant swindle.

A BROKE filmmaker wined and dined his “high maintenance” girlfriend at some of Britain’s top restaurants – and then fled without paying.

Fantasist Janis Nords, 28, of Princess may Road, Stoke Newington, racked up bills of between �222 to �1,331 as he carried out a string of ‘gourmet getaways’ to impress the blonde, who comes from a wealthy family.

In each case, the sneaky diner with a love of foie gras, champagne and fine wines vanished from the eaterie after ‘popping out’ for a cigarette.

Award-winning film director and radio DJ Nords admitted nine offences by video link at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

His ‘dine and dash’ scams cost the restaurants �5,000 in total.

Nords pleaded guilty to three charges of making off without payment and asked for six other similar offences to be taken into consideration.

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He was remanded in custody for sentencing on Friday.

Nords won ‘Best Debut Film’ at the 2009 Latvian National Film Festival for Amatieris (Amateur).

His movie, which has been screened at other showpiece European film festivals, was about a young man who becomes involved in drug dealing as he tries to make money to visit his girlfiend in Amsterdam, where she is studying.

This year, his movie Freedom Day was nominated for ‘Best Film’ in the Fujifilm Shorts Competition.

The son of a sea captain and a doctor, Nords graduated with a BA in audiovisual media from International University Concordia Audentes in Tallinn, Estonia.

He worked as a commercial director in advertising and as a DJ on Latvian radio stations before coming to Britain.

The court heard that Nords is currently studying for an MA at Britain’s prestigious National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

Nords, was arrested on Monday night after being chased by waiters from L’Oranger restaurant in London’s St James’s.

Staff grew suspicious during the meal when Nords continually left the restaurant to have a cigarette.

They asked him to go back inside and pay the �1,022 bill but after producing a Visa card, he fled as it was being put through.

Waiters chased and seized him and when police were called, he told them: “I’ve done this three times before.”

Nord’s girlfriend, in her late twenties, who was dining with him was released without charge after telling police she was unaware of the scam. She has not been named.

Nords’ lawyer Bruce Reid told JPs his client committed off the ‘eat-and-runs’ to impress his “high maintenance” girlfriend, who was unaware he was not paying.

Mr Reid said that Nords was from the “old school way of thinking” where men pay for everything.

He told the court: “He was trying to impress a girl who comes from money.

“I also suspect there was an element of fantasy in Mr Nords’ thinking in trying to dine in the high-end restaurants.”

Mr Reid said that Nords was “embarrassed” by the shame his crimes would bring on his family back in Latvia.

Mr Reid said that the filmmaker’s wages from Latvia had not gone far in London and that he was broke.

Nords struck on November 6 at the Michelin-starred H�l�ne Darroze at the Connaught in Mayfair, where the bill was �965.

And he also ripped off The Glasshouse in Kew on October 14 over a �349 bill.

That bill included repeat orders of foie gras, cocktails, four half-bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne.

He and a woman dining companion enjoyed repeat orders of foie gras and made a fuss by claiming waiters got the order wrong.

They also downed cocktails, four half-bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne.

Manager Patra Panas said: “They were going in and out all evening to smoke. They still had some dessert on their plates when they went out for another cigarette.

“We thought they would come back but obviously they didn’t.

“It was very upsetting - especially how they finished off that bottle of champagne, which was like rubbing our noses in it.”

Ms Panas said staff had trusted the pair after they left a shopping bag containing an expensive-looking parcel in the cloakroom.

But all they found on opening it was a bottle of orange juice.

Another ‘eat-and-run’ was at the Pearl restaurant at the Chancery Court Hotel in Holborn on November 2.

There, he and his companion had the �70 taster menu before going on to rack up a total bill of around �570.

They enjoyed a number of cocktails, red wine at �12 a glass, dessert wine for �15, and two bottles of vintage champagne - an Alain Thienot Grand Cuvee 1999 for �125 and a Dom Pierre Family Reserve 2000 at �145.

Manager Russell Cocks said: “They were very chatty with the waiters. They certainly didn’t try to stay under the radar.

“They said they were on holiday from Latvia and they had foreign accents.

“After dinner they asked if they could have coffee in the bar and went out to smoke.

“When they asked for their jackets the receptionist hesitated for a moment but they said ‘Come on, we’re not going to run away’.

“But that’s exactly what they did. We couldn’t believe it.”

Nords also duped the Michelin-starred L’Autre Pied in Marylebone last Wednesday.

He and his dining companion tucked into main courses of hare and venison, washed down with a �124 Larmandier pink champagne and a �285 bottle of 1997 Bollinger.

Their total bill came to �572 - around three times the average.

But they slipped outside for a cigarette and by the time the waiter brought their pudding of plum tart and millefeuille, they had disappeared.

Their booking was under the name ‘Lupin’ – a possible reference to fictional French gentleman thief Arsene Lupin.

David Moore, director of L’Autre Pied and its sister restaurant, the long-established Pied � Terre, said: “They were there from the outset to rip us off.”