Lapland New Forest park 'was sabotaged'

Victor (left) and Henry Mears
Image caption Brothers Victor (left) and Henry Mears deny all the charges against them

A man has been accused of sabotaging a Lapland-themed attraction which was later forced to close amid complaints.

Brothers Victor and Henry Mears are accused of misleading customers who visited Lapland New Forest in 2008.

Victor Mears told jurors that Charlie Cooper, who runs a car boot sale at the Matchams Park site, sabotaged the ice rink and told traders not to show up.

Mr Cooper told the court Victor Mears was a conman. The brothers, from Brighton, deny all the charges.

Victor Mears, who is representing himself, said he paid £170,000 to Mr Cooper - whom he referred to as "the king of the gypsies".


But Mr Cooper told the court that he introduced Victor Mears to local workmen in order to finish the site on time and also provided animals including reindeer and donkeys. he said he never received any money.

Giving evidence, Mr Cooper said: "In my opinion, you are a conman.

"A good conman is very convincing."

During the time that the attraction was open, Mr Cooper was on a cruise in the Caribbean.

After Lapland New Forest closed, he said that he organised the site to be cleared for the next car boot sale.

"You done a bunk," he told Victor Mears. "Things were playing up, you went."

The jury has heard that there is a black hole in the Lapland New Forest finances that Victor Mears has said is money paid in cash to Mr Cooper.

Mr Cooper said: "He [Victor Mears] is using me as a scapegoat. They have got the money. They have probably got it somewhere. It's probably under the bed."

The brothers face five charges of engaging in a commercial practice which is a misleading action and three charges of engaging in a commercial practice which is a misleading omission.

They deny all the charges.

The trial continues.

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