Sussex

Suspended sentence for Gatwick Airport parking scammer

Shagufta Khan
Image caption Shagufta Khan was the director of Best Meet and Greet Ltd

A woman who misled Gatwick holidaymakers by parking their cars in muddy fields and public car parks has been given a suspended sentence.

Shagufta Khan, 42, who was the director of Best Meet and Greet Ltd, previously admitted engaging in unfair and misleading commercial practice.

At Hove Crown Court, Khan, from Crawley, was sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for 12 months.

She was also ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service.

The company promised to securely store people's cars, but instead they were left in fields and public car parks.

West Sussex County Council's Trading Standards team investigated the firm after complaints from travellers.

Image caption Cars were kept in fields, not in a secure place as advertised

The court previously heard the company's website contained cheap short-term offers which pushed customers to book quickly, and had false testimonies from "satisfied" customers.

Khan, of Stace Way, also "misled customers on the characteristics of their car parking", by falsely claiming vehicles would be securely guarded at all times.

The court heard it was "not likely" Khan was the person with ultimate control over the company, and there was a strong chance other people were involved.

Image caption Cars were brought back filthy after being kept with Best Meet and Greet Ltd

Judge Roger Chapple said he had listened with increasing dismay to the way Best Meet and Greet Ltd had treated the public.

He said: "Your customers were treated with contempt."

Karen Aldous used the service, and when she returned from her holiday Best Meet and Greet were unable to find the vehicle.

After four-and-a-half hours it was returned, but it was dented and covered in mud.

Image caption The company website claimed the facility was manned and guarded 24/7

After Khan was convicted Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards team manager, said: "This company was making statements on their website and they were false.

"Consumers paid good money for their cars to be securely parked, but they weren't - they were parked unprofessionally in a field."

A Gatwick spokesman said the airport had "no relationship with the parking operator involved".

Other firms have also been investigated by Trading Standards for similar reasons, including Gatwick First Parking and London Parking Gatwick.

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