A British tourist suffering from bipolar disorder spent more than £147,000 during a week-long shopping spree in a Spanish city.
Shopkeepers said the man, who had a British passport and called himself Mark Rushton, was walking from store to store in the northern town of Santander, demanding to ‘buy everything’.
According to the Diario Montanes newspaper, he bought more than 30 bags of food from ‘Diferente’ – a gourmet delicatessen – leaving the shop’s shelves virtually empty.
Staff began boxing up all his purchases as he walked around choosing items while drinking cognac straight from a £260 bottle he had picked up from the shelf.
Rushton is believed to have paid £7,500 on a credit card as an upfront payment, assuring staff he would settle the rest of the bill later.
He then arranged for some of his purchases to be taken back to his hotel where management were forced to assign him a separate room for all his goods.
He went back to the shop and continued to pick things out until the shelves were left empty. Staff had to tell him to stop when the shop closed at midnight by which time he’d racked up a bill of £147,000.
Confronted with this total, he told staff in English that he didn’t have any more money on him but that he just needed to go back to England and his son would give him the money in cash.
Rushton also bought 17 pairs of shoes costing £1,300 from Kawasaki – a fashionable footwear store – and spent £600 on cigars and Indian figures in a tobacconist.
He became the talk of the town and was also said to have visited the tourist office where he flirted with staff and enquired about booking a table at the exclusive Cañadío restaurant.
The extravagant spree finally came to an end when he walked out of a shop with a £20 Cuban cigar in his mouth without paying.
The worker who served him told ABC news: ‘He lit one in the shop. I told him he couldn’t do that inside so he walked out with it in his mouth without paying.’
Rushton was arrested by police and taken to Valdecilla Hospital’s psychiatric unit where he underwent a month of intensive treatment.
Doctors eventually diagnosed him as having suffered from an extreme bipolar episode. The hospital paid for him to return to England on a Ryanair flight on July 26.No tags for this post.