Glasgow & West Scotland

'Despicable' war fraudster John Lennox jailed

A man who swindled war veterans and school children out of almost £30,000 has been jailed for 25 months.

John Lennox, 48, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, took payments for tours to historic World War II sites that failed to go ahead.

He admitted fraudulently obtaining the cash following an investigation by trading standards officials.

Jailing him at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Sheriff John Beckett QC described Lennox's actions as "despicable".

The court heard that Lennox set up European Tours Ltd - that also traded as Battlefield Tours - in August 2007 and provided an office address as Bath Street, Glasgow.

Money lost

He advertised in newspapers and used flyers.

The court was told that Lennox took a deposit of £3,400 from 24 members of the Fife Branch, Parachute Regiment Association.

Members paid with lottery funding for their trip to Holland to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

The tour was cancelled after the group's secretary became suspicious of Lennox's company - and their money was lost.

Some of Lennox's other victims included 38 school children at Airdrie Academy who were booked for Bruges, Belgium, and lost £9,220.

A couple in their 80s, who had travelled from Ireland to a pick-up point in Lockerbie for a visit to Flanders, lost £798.

The court heard that some friends who booked to visit Normandy for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings were also let down by Lennox, losing £1,851.

His activities eventually came to the attention of police after trading standards officials received a total of 17 individual complaints about Lennox's firm.

'Fateful mistake'

The 48-year-old later pleaded guilty to stealing £27,855 between July 2008 and September 2009.

Passing sentence Sheriff Beckett told Lennox: "You have stolen from a large number of people, some of whom were vulnerable by reason of their age and their emotional connection with the site of the D-Day landings, war graves and battle sites.

"All of these people made the honest but fateful mistake of trusting you with not only their money, but also their hopes and plans."

He added: "You have stolen from people who served this country going as far back as the Second World War.

"Through your dishonesty, many people have been deprived of an opportunity to mark a special occasion which will not come again for them."

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