Kent

Twelve sentenced for holiday scam

Gatwick Airport
Image caption Many of the defendants were arrested after boarding a flight to Jamaica

Twelve people have been sentenced for conspiracy to defraud holiday firm Thomas Cook of more than £250,000.

Jurors at Maidstone Crown Court heard how false credit card details were used to book luxury trips to the Caribbean.

Many of the defendants were arrested at Gatwick airport after they boarded a flight to Jamaica in October 2008.

Ringleader Rachel Allgood, 28, of Royal British Legion Village, Aylesford, Kent, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

She had pleaded guilty to the fraud and several similar offences against Sainsburys, Medway Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.

Five-star resorts

Two of her co-conspirators, Nikki McKenna, 29, and Cheryl Dawson, 22, were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud Thomas Cook in a trial in January.

June Stacey, 44, Clive Whyte, 48, and Chris Farquharson, 42, were also found guilty of conspiracy to defraud Thomas Cook during a separate trial in February.

Jurors heard that dozens of all-inclusive holidays at five-star resorts had been booked with Thomas Cook using compromised bank card details between September 2006 and November 2008 by members of the group either for themselves or on behalf of other people.

Some of the defendants had also used the cards to make overpayments on council tax - before claiming the cash back.

McKenna, of Howick Close, Royal British Legion Village, Aylesford, was sentenced to 36 weeks in prison suspended for two years and 400 hours of unpaid work, while Dawson, of Bentley Close, Royal British Legion Village, was sentenced to 24 weeks suspended for two years and 200 hours of unpaid work.

Stacey, of The Cockpit, Marden, Kent, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, while Whyte, of William Baker House, Royal British Legion Village, received 24 weeks in prison suspended for two years and 200 hours of unpaid work along with Farquharson, of Eliot Bank, Forest Hill, south-east London.

Two acquitted

The six other defendants all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud Thomas Cook.

Jason McKenna, 41, of Howick Close, Royal British Legion Village, was sentenced to six months in prison plus four months for another matter.

Matthew Allgood, 32, of Howick Close, Royal British Legion Village, and Norman Pooley, 45, of Headcorn Road, Lenham, Kent, were both given 24 weeks in prison suspended for two years.

Louise Allgood, 39, of Richmond Close, Gillingham, Kent, and Pauline McKenna, 39, of St Paul's Close, Strood, Kent, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud Medway Council and were sentenced to 24 weeks in prison suspended for two years.

Tina Walkling, 47, of Simpson Road, Snodland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud Thomas Cook and received a one-year supervision order and 100 hours of unpaid work.

Two other defendants - Pauline Checksfield, 62, from Royal British Legion Village, Aylesford, and Haley Donlon, 22, of Wordsworth Road, Maidstone - were found not guilty.

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