Police investigate Facebook holiday lost money claims after Hartlepool families left out of pocket

People who attended Hartlepool Police Station last night. (Jan 31, 2016)
People who attended Hartlepool Police Station last night. (Jan 31, 2016)

Police are investigating after a number of Hartlepool people claimed to have been left out of pocket when buying holiday breaks and catering services online.

A company advertised on Facebook as June Crimdon Dene and Flamingo Land Caravans, offering cheap breaks, has been used by a number of people who now say they can no longer make contact after paying hundreds in cash.

Kelly Athey, left, and Irene Groom.

Kelly Athey, left, and Irene Groom.

A similar page called Junes Catering Services was also set up on Facebook.

People claiming to have been left out of pocket joined together at Hartlepool Police Station last night to tell police, while others have already made reports to Cleveland Police.

A Facebook page has also been created on which people from the area are claiming that they have lost money.

Hartlepool mum Kelly Athey says that she paid £340 to book a caravan for a week-long trip to Flamingo land in North Yorkshire this July for her, her husband Dean, 46, and her children Kyle Clark, 18, who has autism, Callum Clark, 12, and Connor Athey, five.

But now, after contacting Flamingo Land, she has found there to be no caravan under the name of the person she booked with.

“We’re all absolutely gutted,” said Mrs Athey, 43, of Rift House, who has given a statement to police.

“I paid a £100 deposit because it looked like a cheap deal.

“We’ve been to Flamingo Land before and this seemed a good idea. I handed over the money because I was told it needed to be booked by January 31.

“It’s sickening to think my husband’s wages, which were meant to go on a holiday for us, have just gone.”

About 10 people turned up at the police station and gave details.

Caron Devon, 50, said she paid £20 for Christmas food that was due to be dropped off on Christmas Eve.

She said there was an excuse of sickness on Christmas Eve and that’s why food was not delivered.

Caron, from Rift House, said: “Its all coming out of the woodwork now.”

Samantha Devine, 22, of Belle Vue, said her sister Lisa Dixon paid £150 for catering for her 30th birthday party last Saturday, but was told on the afternoon it wouldn’t be provided.

She said she had to get an alternative caterer in and pay another £150.

Jean Lodge, 55, and partner Alan Baker, 62, say they paid £400 for a three-piece suite that has never been delivered that was also advertised through Facebook.

Jean said they were given different reasons as to why it did not turn up.

She added: “We had to draw a line under it and contact the police.”

The Mail has not been able to contact the administrator of the Facebook pages despite a number of attempts.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “Police are aware of the allegations and they are being looked into.”