Caravan hire boss found guilty of fraud

The owner of a Lincolnshire caravan hire business has been found guilty of eight counts of fraud following an “influx” of complaints.

Clive Denton of Suntime Caravan Hire was found guilty of the charges at Lincoln Magistrates Court on 3 October 2022.

Between August 2018 and November 2018, Denton took bookings and payments to provide caravans to customers attending the “New Wine” festival in Peterborough.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards began receiving complaints in July 2019 after Suntime’s customers were unable to contact the firm prior to the event.

Six customers who had booked and paid for caravans never received them and were forced to make alternative arrangements at the last minute.

One customer who did receive their caravan found it unfit and in a potentially unsafe condition.

Trading Standards invited Denton to give an account of what happened, but he failed to attend the interview.

Earlier this week, Denton pleaded not guilty to eight counts of fraud for failing to provide the caravans and for providing one caravan that did not match the description he had given.

Denton tried to claim a friend was running the business for him at the time, and that his friend had been a fraudster who ran off with his money. This contradicted customers’ witness accounts, as they had spoken with Denton directly.

Senior Trading Standards officer Kirsty Toyne said: “These customers did not get what they paid for, at all, and I’m glad that they now have justice and will be getting their money back.

“Our role as Trading Standards is to work with businesses, to help them make sure they’re following all the relevant legislation and being fair to their customers. We’re also here to protect consumers against unscrupulous businesses like this one from taking their money and not delivering on their promises.”

Denton has been ordered to pay compensation of £2,888.54, plus £800 costs.

He has also been handed a conditional discharge for 24 months.