Homeless alcoholic booked into hotel saying ‘I’m Louis Theroux’
Allan Debenham, 39, pleaded guilty to two charges of making a false representation by claiming he was “Louis Theroux from the BBC”.
Debenham had booked a room at the £70 per night Duke of York at Shepton Beauchamp, near Ilminster, Somerset, in the name of the documentary maker, magistrates in Yeovil were told.
Debenham provided staff at the pub with a telephone number for the BBC’s finance department and an order number to arrange payment for his three-night stay.
The homeless alcoholic also pretended to be Mr Theroux’s personal assistant and got them to put two bottles of wine on his room tab.
He was only rumbled after staff became suspicious when the “PA” telephoned again asked for two bottles of wine and “some fags” – rather than cigarettes – to be taken to Debenham’s room.
The defendant, of Taunton, pleaded guilty to two charges of making a false representation.
Prosecutor Emma Chetland told the court that staff called the BBC, who told them the order number was not one they recognised.
They called police and Debenham was arrested.
Investigations revealed that the defendant had also booked a taxi to take him to the pub in the name of Louis Theroux. “Staff were told they might not recognise that person as he had put on a bit of weight but they should send the bill to the BBC,” Miss Chetland added.
The court heard that Debenham defrauded the owners of the pub out of £165 – the cost of two nights and the two bottles of wine – and the taxi firm of a £14.70 fare.
Chris Ivory, defending, described it as a “sad case” with Debenham turning to alcohol after losing his job, his partner and his 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.”