Travel boss tells court he never lied

A travel company director accused of duping holidaymakers into paying out for trips that never materialised admitted to a jury that there should have been better communication with customers.

A travel company director accused of duping holidaymakers into paying out for trips that never materialised admitted to a jury that there should have been better communication with customers.

Kevin Tull admitted actively trying to make customers of his Lowestoft-based firm, Fly By Travel Promotions Limited, switch from an offer where they did not have to pay for flights to one where they did, in order to make more profits and save the company.

Tull, who admitted signing letters under the name Paul Williams, responded to the prosecution's accusation that he had not contacted his customers about the poor financial status of the company by saying: “They would have been amazed if I had made that call. This is a business and I am a businessman.”

Appearing at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, he denied the allegation that the reason people did not get holidays was because the company had cashed the cheques, used them for bills, and could no longer afford to book the flights. He added: “I did not ever lie to a customer.”

In the prosecution's cross-examination of Tull, Miles Bennett highlighted a catalogue of errors and customer neglect by the company, including promised offers of luxury champagne, which were used to entice customers to switch from a platinum to a gold scheme, but never materialised.

Tull said shortly before the raid by trading standards, he was going to inject money back into the company, with a £10,000 loan agreed with his father and using a personal bank loan of £5,000. Earlier in his evidence he had insisted that he had wanted to make a success of the business.

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The court also heard how Fly By Travel Promotions did not have an overdraft facility and was cashing customers' cheques before booking their flights.

Kevin Tull, 29, of Walmer Road, Lowestoft, and fellow directors Mark Tull, 28, of Henley-in-Arden, West Midlands, and Matthew Rigden, 22, of Windsor Road, Lowestoft, all deny conspiring to defraud between January 2003 and July 2005.

The defendants were directors of Fly By Travel Promotions Ltd which invited customers to sign up to a platinum option for a subscription fee of £39.99. This entitled them to a seven-day holiday including flights and four-star accommodation.

However, the prosecution alleges that out of 1,120 holidaymakers, only 23 received their holidays and the others were left out of pocket by £140,000.

The trial continues.

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