A British couple on holiday in Crete have denied kicking up a fuss about the quality of their meals – and walking out of at least three local tavernas without paying.
Angela and Ian McKie, who are from Liverpool, were slammed on the Greek holiday island after reportedly tucking into food and drinks before complaining loudly about their meals and refusing to pay.
They are said to have stormed off without settling their bills in at least three restaurants on separate nights around the village of Koutouloufari in the north of the idyllic island.
But speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Mr McKie hit back and said there was only one incident, where they quibbled over some ‘badly cooked’ chicken and chips for €12.
He said they complained about the meal and were threatened with jail by the restaurant manager, so paid in cash and left.
Angel and Ian McKie have denied leaving three restaurants in Crete without paying
The couple are believed to have last walked out of the Ariadni Apartments restaurant, known for its fine pizzas and seafood
In an exclusive interview, Mr McKie said: ‘What we are being accused of it simply not true. It is a little village with one road of shops, bars and tavernas.
‘It would be impossible to leave one restaurant without paying, never mind three because everyone knows each other.’
He added: ‘We were flying home the next day and they’d have never let us on the flight. There is not one ounce of truth in what they are claiming.’
Mr McKie, who works as an electrician, admitted that he and his wife refused to pay for part of the final meal of their holiday on 30 August at the Taverna Pithari, in the village of Koutouloufari after complaining that their chicken and chip dish was undercooked.
He said: ‘The waitress asked if everything was OK with the meal, and we said the chicken and chips were undercooked.
‘We then spoke to the manager, and I said we wouldn’t be paying for that meal. He then said to me that if I didn’t speak good Greek, I’d be spending the night in a prison cell.’
Ms McKie, 54 added: ‘As soon as he mentioned the police, I stated to panic. We didn’t want to get into trouble with the police so paid the bill in full.
‘We were not refusing to pay the entire bill. It was the €12 for my meal.’
The catering assistant continued: ‘It has caused a great deal of stress. We are honest people and have been called thieves. We have never walked out of anywhere without paying the bill.’
The couple insisted that they eventually paid the bill in full, which was 52 Euros.
Mr McKie said: ‘As we were walking out of the restaurant, the manger grabbed my arm demanding that I paid.
‘I told him the cash was in the payment box on the table. And as for the other restaurants, I have no idea about them. We have not been to them. If we had left without paying, why didn’t they call the police?’
A storm erupted online after an angry member of staff at Ariadni Apartments posted a picture of the couple dining on Facebook along with a warning that they refused to pay
Ms McKie is a former director of Bluebells nursery in the Netherely area of Liverpool, which has around 40 children and has been rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted.
The couple have two children, a daughter aged 27 and a son, 23.
She said: ‘We love Crete and have been going there for 35 years.
‘The people are lovely. Since we’ve returned home, I have had messages for people in Greece saying don’t come back and that we are not welcome. It is so unfair as we have done nothing wrong.’
A storm around the couple’s alleged antics erupted after an outraged member of staff at the Ariadni Apartments restaurant posted their picture on Facebook, along with message stating: ‘Keep an eye on this couple. After finishing their meal, they refuse to pay the bill.
‘We are third restaurant so far where they have tried this tactic. It’s good restaurant owners in the village communicate with each other so we know what to expect.’
The post on the Facebook group Koutouloufari For Ever attracted more than 200 comments including many from outraged British holidaymakers and ex-pats accusing the couple of heaping shame on the UK.
One woman rushed to defend the restaurant, posting: ‘Such beautiful people and place!! Shame on you.’
Another furiously posted: ‘How disgusting. How could anyone do such a thing to the lovely people around the area.
‘It’s people like that who give us English a bad name. I see it has been shared on the posts that I am a member of. I hope they rot in hell for what they have done.
‘They are probably on their way back home by now. So sorry to all those lovely people who have been affected x’
A third Brit added: ‘Why can’t the taverna owners join forces and bring a few hefty brothers/cousins/mates into the village as an ‘encouragement’ for these lowlifes to pay up, if the cops won’t do anything?’.
Former Ministry of Defence worker Mark Flynn, 59, who has lived in Crete for 16 years accused the couple of ‘taking advantage of the kindness of Greek people’.
But Mr and Mrs McKie insist they have done nothing wrong and that they only tried to refuse to pay half of their meal at Taverna Pithari, and ended up doing so when the manager threatened to call the police
He added: ‘It looks like they have been going into restaurants to eat. It is the custom here for places after a meal to provide a free dessert and a glass of the local raki firewater.
‘They then apparently started complaining in each place about the service and meal they had been given even though they had eaten and drunk everything.
‘As far as restaurants are concerned, it is often just easier for them to let people like that walk away, and forget about it, because most diners are very honest.
‘But in this case, it seems that this couple have gone too far and have tried the same stunt repeatedly in at least three places. It is extremely unusual for local restaurants to post something like this because they don’t like to cause a scene, and it is a sign that they must have been very upset.’
Mr. Flynn who is from Plymouth, Devon, added: ‘It is the first time I have heard of Brits doing this in all my time here.
‘When it has previously happened, it has been Russians or Israelis. Everyone is really angry about it because the behaviour of one couple is giving all British people a bad name.
‘It is not a very nice thing to do at all. The Greeks are wonderful people and do not deserve to be abused like this.’