Facebook fraudster to pay back victims over fake holiday bookings

Thompson took payments for caravan trips to Flamingo Land.
Thompson took payments for caravan trips to Flamingo Land.

A Facebook fraudster who tricked families into paying for caravan holidays which did not exist has been spared jail.

June Thompson conned £3,360 out of 16 victims, including many in Hartlepool.

Kelly Athey, left, and Irene Groom, who both paid for services from June Thompson which they never received.

Kelly Athey, left, and Irene Groom, who both paid for services from June Thompson which they never received.

She set up a fake website advertising caravan breaks at Crimdon Dene and Flamingo Land, in North Yorkshire, Teesside Crown Court earlier heard.

The 41-year-old also took money to cater a number of parties and deliver goods such as a £400 sofa to customers. But once the bookings were taken, she disappeared and was unable to cater for the events as she had promised.

Thompson pleaded guilty to 16 counts of fraud and sentencing was deferred for six months in February because she said she wanted to pay the money back.

Judge Stephen Ashurst decided not to send her to prison after being told she has saved just over £1,000 and is due to start a new job next week.

Thompson’s barrister Mark Styles, said in mitigation: “What she has been doing is scrimping and saving pennies, coins in a box which she transferred to the bank two days ago.

“It amounts to just over a thousand pounds. It’s not for want of trying, she’s been making a determined effort to sort out her problems.”

Judge Ashurst told Thompson, of Burdon Crescent, Seaham, her crimes had caused “considerable distress” to her victims, many of whom do not have much money themselves.

He said: “Sentence was deferred because you made a plea, supported by your current partner, that you had every intention of paying back each of the complainants all amounts you had taken from them wrongly.

“Given that you have not been convicted of any further offence I’m going to stick to my part of the bargain and impose in respect of each these offences nine months imprisonment suspended for a period of two years.”

A compensation order was made whereby three of her victims will be repaid fully in 14 days and the remaining 13 within the 12 months.

Hartlepool mum Kelly Athey paid £340 to Thompson for a week-long caravan trip to Flamingo land in North Yorkshire last July for her, her husband Dean, 47, and her children Kyle Clark, 19, Callum Clark, 13, and Connor Athey, six, but no caravan was booked. And Irene Groom, 50, of Westbourne Road, paid Thompson £250 to cater a party, which in the end she failed to do.