Family caught by online caravan holiday scam
TWO little boys were left "very disappointed" after their first caravan holiday turned out to be a scam.
Jade and Steve Burt, from Saltash, were left "livid" after being told the eight-berth static caravan they had booked online for their first holiday with their nephews didn't exist.
The couple had seen an advert for the caravan on a free-ads website and had enquired if it was available for the August bank holiday weekend.
Mrs Burt, 28, said: "The advert said the caravan was at a campsite in Hayle and it even had pictures. When we asked if it was available the man told us he had received a lot of interest but that if we paid the £350 in full he would secure the booking.
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"We had promised the children a holiday in a caravan because they have never been in one. This was the only place we could find and we had the man's name and bank details so we didn't think it was dodgy."
But when Mr and Mrs Burt and their two nephews Coby, 5, and Ty, 3, turned up at the campsite after a two-hour drive, they were told the caravan did not exist.
Mrs Burt said: "I was angry. I had two small children jumping around my feet and trying to explain to them there was no caravan was very difficult. They got really upset and were very disappointed. My husband was livid."
The couple then spent another £400 to stay in a nearby chalet.
Police, who are now investigating a series of seven false representations in the last seven weeks, are warning people to be wary.
PC Steve Northcott, of Charles Cross police station, said: "We have had one victim from Loughborough who travelled down to Cornwall with her five children, one of whom was disabled, to be told there was no caravan. The poor woman was absolutely distraught.
"People who are considering renting caravans or chalets from these sites should always use the authorised payment methods like Paypal.
"These offenders are preying on people who want a bargain - people who can ill afford to lose money.
"This is a particularly despicable crime that is affecting a lot of children.
"We need to bring these people before the courts to prevent further offences and to ensure their victims get the justice they deserve."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting crime reference number ED/12/4060.