Glasgow & West Scotland

Police investigate claims over caravan bookings

Kirsty Beacom and her children Image copyright Kirsty Beacom
Image caption Kirsty Beacom had booked a holiday at Craig Tara with her children

Police are investigating claims that families have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket after booking holidays at an Ayrshire caravan park.

Hundreds of people claim they gave cash to Lisa McGuire to book at Craig Tara.

But many of them say they were stung when she failed to pass the money on to caravan owners, leaving their breaks in jeopardy.

Some families arriving at the park for their October break say they found locked caravans and double bookings.

BBC Scotland contacted Ms McGuire for comment but has not received a reply.

She acted as an agent, linking customers seeking holidays with owners whose caravans were available.

Image copyright John Willacy
Image caption Families had booked caravans at Craig Tara holiday park

Much of the business was conducted on social media, and many of those affected said they had booked with her before without any problems.

BBC Scotland's The Nine has learned that 64 people have reported Ms McGuire to Action Fraud - the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

Police Scotland said it had received reports from people in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.

A spokesman said: "We would encourage anyone who feels they may be a victim of this to contact their local police station.

"Inquiries are ongoing at this time."

Craig Tara said it had advised people to report the matter to the police and that it advised customers to book through "trusted channels".

Nurse Kirsty Beacom said she had booked breaks in Easter and summer 2020, at a cost of £260.

She said she had tried to contact Ms McGuire several times, but had not heard anything back - and could not afford to book a new holiday.

'I was blocked'

Ms Beacom said her sons were "really sad" that they would miss out.

"I just can't believe she's disappointed so many children... letting children go down to Craig Tara and be disappointed," she said.

Lynne Rae, who had booked a caravan for the October school holiday week, said she was "gutted" when she realised what had happened.

She said she had seen a post voicing concerns about Ms McGuire on Facebook.

"When I checked I was completely blocked, so there was no way of getting in touch with her," she said.

Ms Rae said she did not think she would get her money back, but has managed to book another caravan - and described herself as one of the lucky ones.

Image copyright John McLean
Image caption Caravan owner John McLean says he is owed nearly £2,500

Caravan owners have also said that they are owed money for bookings collected by Ms McGuire.

John McLean, who only bought his caravan in the spring, said he had been introduced to Ms McGuire through a friend.

She came to his home and offered to hire out his caravan and deal with the bookings.

However, he claims that she owes him £2,450.

"That's two thirds of my site fees for next year," he said.

"There's still people turning up at Craig Tara now and getting refused caravans. I feel sorry for the families."

Holiday protection

A spokesman for Craig Tara said: "We have advised people who have contacted us directly to report the matter to the police.

"We always advise customers to book only through trusted channels, for example through the official Haven website, ABTA agent or affiliated third party.

"In doing so, both your money and your holiday experience can be protected by us."

He added: "We would strongly urge customers not to attempt to make bookings through social media channels.

"We are continuing to monitor such sites and report to the necessary authorities where appropriate."

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