Father and son 'brazenly' walked out of Fortnum & Mason with eight bottles of champagne, court hears
Douglas and Jack Vallender claim they left department store after forgetting to pay
A father and son committed a “brazen” theft from Fortnum & Mason when they grabbed eight bottles of expensive champagne and simply walked out of the store, a court has heard.
The pair deny theft from the shop in an incident alleged to have taken place on 1 May last year.
Southwark Crown Court heard how the defendants headed downstairs once inside the store and filled a bag with eight bottles of champagne.
“They did an about turn, went up the stairs and from the stairs they walked a distance and walked out the front door,” prosecutor James Cartwright told the jury.
“They thought that 'if we are brazen and do it in the open no-one is going to notice. They will see us with a bag and think we have bought it.'
”It depended on nobody seeing them. Unfortunately Fortnum & Mason have a comprehensive security camera in the store.“
The Vallenders, who arrived at the store at about 12.15pm, were spotted by security staff with a Fortnum & Mason-branded bag that was filled with champagne, the court heard.
As they walked out of the front of the shop, they were pursued and stopped a short distance down the road as they walked towards Piccadilly Circus and taken back while police were called.
The Vallenders later told police they had forgotten to pay for items, but Mr Cartwright told the court: “You do not forget eight bottles of champagne in a heavy bag and lug it out of a store.”
Security guard Deepak Singh told the jury: “In my opinion I thought they were walking quickly. I thought they were suspicious and that's why I decided to follow them.”
The trial continues.
Additional reporting by PA