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Homeless man defrauds British hotel pretending to be documentarian


UPI News Service, 06/15/2013 

A homeless alcoholic man pleaded guilty to conning a hotel in Britain to give him a room and wine by pretending to be BBC documentarian Louis Theroux.

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Allan Debenham, 39, was charged with dishonestly making a false representation by claiming he was Theroux.

Prosecutor Emma Chetland said Debenham had a cab driver to take him to the Duke of York hotel in Somerset on April 21 and told him he was Theroux and to bill the BBC for the fare.

He then booked three nights at the Duke of York, giving the staff there a telephone number for the BBC's finance department and an order number for the bill, the newspaper staff.

Staff became suspicious after Debenham called the front desk to have two bottles of wine and "some fags" left outside his door.

"The person taking the call becomes suspicious at the use of the word 'fags' rather than cigarettes," Chetland said.

Prosecutors said Debenham defrauded the hotel out of $258, the cost of two nights accommodation and wine, and the taxi company of a $23 fare.

Debenham's lawyer, Chris Ivory, said his client had turned to alcohol after losing his job, partner and home at the end of last year.

"In desperation he tried it on. He managed to get a couple of nights free accommodation and he accepts the prosecution case in respect of that," Ivory said. "April was a month that was pretty much a blur to him."

Debenham is scheduled to be sentenced June 25 and will undergo treatment for alcoholism, the newspaper said.


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