Oxford’s notorious dine-and-dash conman is set to get a free Christmas dinner this year – in prison.

Eric Austin was jailed for 16 weeks yesterday after he racked up a bill of nearly £100 on food and drinks at a Headington gastropub

The ‘well-presented’ 49-year-old drank five pints of beer and downed five more chasers at the White Hart on Friday before alarm bells started ringing for staff.

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On his next round a manager asked him to cough up and pay the bill which had come to £95.15.

However, he presented them with a Post Office card that turned out to be useless.

Oxford Mail:

A staff member at the pub said: "As soon as it happened I said 'you have done this before, I’ve read the articles'.

"He said the card had money on it but that’s when I clocked who he was.

"I called 101 when he was still inside and he didn’t run or anything.

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"He went outside, had a cigarette and waited."

Staff said he had eaten a lot of food – but because of a shift change, nobody realised how much he had really been splurging.

He was cuffed by police officers at the pub, and appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to one charge of obtaining services dishonestly.

Austin has pulled his con at bars and restaurants across the city for years.

In 2015 he was banned from setting foot in any eatery in Oxford where food or drink could be eaten before it was paid for.

Oxford Mail:

But city traders can rest easy over the festive season after he was handed one of his longest sentences yet.

After appearing in the dock yesterday morning, Austin was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison – and still has to pay the bill at The White Hart.

Investigating officer PC Jon Kelly, from the neighbourhood team for Barton, Risinghurst and Sandhills, said Austin had got his 'just deserts'.

He said: "Throughout Friday afternoon, Austin ordered and ate a lot of food and drank a lot of alcohol.

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"When it came to payment time, it was noted that his card was a post office card which was incapable of making a payment.

"Austin knew he had no means to pay.

"He is a man that takes advantage of local eateries, and showed no remorse on this occasion.

"This pub is an independent business working on small margins, and Austin effectively conned them out of nearly £100.

"I am glad he got his just deserts in court and will be made to pay back what he owes when he is released from prison."

When Austin was handed a 24-week suspended sentence at Oxford Magistrates’ Court in June 2015, his solicitor Julian Richards said his client had schizophrenia and depression and had previously wanted to be sent back to prison because he had run out of money. In October that year he was sentenced to 12-weeks in prison.