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Beverley holiday park owner William Flannigan not guilty of fraud

William Flannigan
Image caption Outside the court, William Flannigan spoke of his relief at being cleared

A man has been found not guilty of 10 counts of fraud over claims he mis-sold chalets at a holiday park.

William Flannigan was alleged to have sold properties at Lakeminster Park, Beverley, east Yorkshire, as permanent homes despite knowing they could only be used for holiday purposes.

However, Judge Paul Watson QC told Hull Crown Court there was no case to answer due to a lack of evidence.

Mr Flannigan, 51, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, had denied the charges.

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The judge instructed the jury to return not guilty verdicts on all the counts, marking the end of a nine-week trial.

Speaking outside court, Mr Flannigan said it "felt good" to have been cleared.

Prosecutors had alleged that he "made significant financial gains" after making a number of "untrue statements" over a number of years.

Barrister David Gordon told jurors Mr Flannigan "knew perfectly well" the park did not have the relevant planning permission.

Image caption Lakeminster Park on the outskirts of Beverley was home to about 200 people

Residents moved in to Lakeminster Park in 2008 but in 2011 were told they could not live there all year round as the site did not have the required planning permission.

An application for retrospective planning permission was refused in 2012 and, after a series of inquiries, homeowners were issued with eviction notices in September 2014.

During the trial, Mr Flannigan's barrister claimed he had been the victim of a plot to deflect scrutiny away from East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said it had considered there to be "sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction" but that it respected the judge's decision.

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