Facebook fraudster who conned families in fake holiday scam gets chance to pay victims back

Flamingo Land.
Flamingo Land.

A woman who conned families into putting down deposits for caravan holidays which didn’t exist is being given a chance to pay the money back to her victims.

June Thompson pleaded guilty to 16 counts of fraud after she set up a fake website advertising caravan breaks at Crimdon Dene and Flamingo Land, in North Yorkshire.

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.

In total, greedy Thompson raked in £3,360 from the con which was uncovered last year.

She had also taken bookings promising to cater a number of parties and deliver goods such as a £400 sofa to customers.

However, once the bookings were taken, she disappeared and was unable to cater for the events as she had promised.

In a hearing at Teesside Crown Court, Thompson sobbed throughout in the dock when the charges were put to her.

Judge Stephen Ashurst warned her all options including custody would be considered in a pre-sentence report by the probation service.

Thompson, of Burdon Crescent, in Seaham, has had her sentence deferred for six months to allow her to pay back all of the cash.

Her victims have now spoken about their ordeal and say they hope to recover the money they paid.

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.

However, after contacting the theme park and zoo, she was shocked to find there was no caravan booked.

“Everybody makes mistakes and the fact that she is being made to pay the money back is good enough for me,” said Mrs Athey, 44, of Rift House.

“It’s ridiculous that it happened in the first place and I hope she realises how bad it looks on her.

“Now, if she doesn’t pay the money back, at least she will probably do time in prison for it.”

Mrs Athey added: “This should make people aware of buying things on Facebook as I’m certainly not as gullible as I was.

“We weren’t able to go anywhere on holiday last year because of what happened and now I just hope we get something back.”

Irene Groom, 50, of Westbourne Road, had paid £250 for Thompson to cater a party, which in the end she failed to do.

“The people affected never got anything back from this so I’m glad she has got what she deserves,” said Mrs Groom, 50.

“Kids and their parents missed out on holidays so they need to get something back from what she did.

“Not only that but people were supposed to get things like three-piece sofas and Christmas gifts which she never delivered.”

Thompson is due back at Teesside Crown Court for sentencing on August 3.