England

Birmingham travel agent guilty over 'slum' trip to Mecca

Chowdhury Haffez Ahmad
Image caption Chowdhury Haffez Ahmad was released on bail

A Birmingham travel agent who sold a family a £10,000 trip to Mecca but left them sleeping in "slum" conditions has been convicted of fraud.

Chowdhury Haffez Ahmad, 38, who ran Hellenic Travels, was also found guilty of three charges of breaching package tour regulations.

Cockroaches were found in a fridge during the Noori family's trip in 2009, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Ahmad, of Stoney Stanton Road, Coventry is to be sentenced on 9 December.

'So dirty'

Recorder Mark Rhind told Ahmad, who was released on bail, that he could be sent to jail.

Image caption The Noori family filmed some facilities

His Hellenic Travels business in Small Heath, Birmingham, has closed.

Millions of Muslims make the annual spiritual journey or Hajj to Mecca.

Mohamed Noori, from Rowley Regis, travelled with his wife and two daughters, believing they would be staying in four and five star hotels, but ended up in what was described as a "slum", the court heard.

The family filmed parts of their trip, with some footage showing filthy conditions and dinner presented in a plastic bag.

Mr Noori found out on the plane he was not on a direct flight and he would be coming back three days later than scheduled, the court was told.

Image caption Mr Noori thanked trading standards, which brought the case

Speaking outside court, Mr Noori said: "We had cockroaches. It was a small room and.. four of us, me and my family, stayed in it.

"It was really hard to move about as well. The bathroom was so dirty."

The Noori family are waiting to see if they will get their money back.

Mr Noori thanked trading standards, which brought the case.

Liberal Democrat councillor Neil Eustace said: "This is a sad case. It's not the only one in the area and we're determined to crack down on this and with the help of the courts we'll do precisely that."

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