A group of runaway diners racked up a bill of more than £500 before making off without paying.
The four mystery guests enjoyed a lavish meal at Milsom restaurant in Dedham, Essex, last Saturday, including oysters, filet steak and two bottles of Dom Perignon champagne.
However, when it came to paying the bill, the group of three men and one woman tricked staff and left without paying. Three of them made a dash for the car, while the fourth person insisted he would settle the bill but instead ran off to his accomplices who were waiting in the car outside.
Owner Paul Milsom said the guests had planned the trickery. "They decided they were going to do this and ran up a big bill," he said. "Our average spend is not that high and this was clearly premeditated, which is very disheartening."
The restaurant said the guests enjoyed scallops, spring rolls and a prawn cocktail to start, followed by main courses of cod, two lamb shanks and a £30 steak, as well as two ice-cream sundaes for dessert.
In addition, the four diners ordered three bottles of wine and two bottles of Dom Perignon champagne, racking up a total bill of £520.55.
Police have now released CCTV of the four diners in the hope of finding them and forcing them to pay their bill.
Milsom added: "It hardly ever happens and we have the CCTV to ensure if it does, we can identify the people involved. We hope someone may recognise them and come forward.
"It happens every three or four years or so, but this is probably the first time it has happened in this sense, with people purposefully out to run up a big bill."
Anyone with information is urged to contact PC Dan Smith, at Colchester police, on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
In 2010, a student who ran a scam of visiting high-end restaurants and walking out without paying, racking up more than £5,800 in unpaid bills, was banned from central London for a year.