The owner of a Lincoln-based caravan hire company has been found guilty of eight counts of fraud at Lincoln Magistrates Court on 3 October 2022.
The case against Denton was brought by Lincolnshire Trading Standards after receiving an influx of complaints about his company Suntime Caravan Hire.
Between August 2018 and November 2018, Mr Denton took bookings and payments to supply caravans to Suntime Caravan Hire customers attending the ‘New Wine’ festival being held in Peterborough in 2019.
Lincolnshire Trading Standards began receiving complaints in July 2019 as Suntime’s customers were unable to get in touch with them prior to the event.
When the festival came, six of the customers who had booked and paid for caravans with Suntime never received them, and they were left out of pocket when they had to make alternative arrangements at the last minute.
One customer did receive their caravan from Suntime, but it was in an unfit and potentially unsafe condition – far from the conditions described by the company when they hired it.
The stabilisers were not put down, and the caravan subsequently tipped, and the door fell off.
After taking statements from customers, Trading Standards then invited Clive Denton to give his account to officers. He failed to attend the interview.
At Lincoln Magistrates Court on 3 October, Clive Denton pleaded not guilty to eight counts of fraud for failing to provide the caravans and for providing one caravan that did not match the description.
Mr Denton tried to claim a friend was running the business for him during this time, and that that friend had been a fraudster who ran off with his money. This contradicted with the customers’ witness accounts, as they had spoken with Mr Denton directly.
The court found Clive Denton guilty of all eight charges and ordered him to pay full compensation of £2,888.54, plus £800 costs.
He was also handed a conditional discharge for 24 months.
Senior Trading Standards officer, Kirsty Toyne, who investigated the case said: “These customers did not get what they paid for, at all, and I’m glad that they now have justice and will be getting their money back.
“Our role as Trading Standards is to work with businesses, to help them make sure they’re following all the relevant legislation and being fair to their customers.
“We’re also here to protect consumers against unscrupulous businesses like this one from taking their money and not delivering on their promises.”