Owner of leading UK theme park charged with assaulting ticket tout

Ruth Doherty
Owner of leading UK theme park charged with assaulting ticket tout
Owner of leading UK theme park charged with assaulting ticket tout

Ross Parry

The owner of one of Yorkshire's - and the UK's - most popular tourist attractions has been charged with assault.

Flamingo Land chief executive Gordon Gibb, 36, a former chairman of Bradford City Football Club, appeared in court yesterday (Monday 13 November), charged with assault by beating after an incident involving a man reportedly selling two-for-one tickets outside the gates of the theme park without permission.

Gibb, who denies the charge, appeared at Scarborough Magistrates Court for a pre-trial review and is due to stand trial there on 21 February 2013.

According to the Yorkshire Post, he said after the hearing: "I'm happy to co-operate with the investigation and looking forward to the opportunity to defend myself against the allegations."

Gibb, who lives in Ebberston, near Pickering, pleaded not guilty when he made his first appearance at the court on 17 October.

The incident occurred at the site near Malton about 10.30am on Saturday, 28 July, and it is thought it was reported by an associate of the "victim" who may also have been selling tickets.

Gibb was arrested and later released on bail, before being charged on August 28.

As well as running Flamingo Land, Mr Gibb was once an amateur boxer, and also became the youngest chairman of an English football club when he succeeded Geoffrey Richmond at Bradford in August 2002 at the age of 26.

He resigned in January 2004, although the club's Valley Parade ground is owned by the Trustees of Flamingo Land Limited Self-Administered Pension Scheme.

Gibb, who was born in Scotland, moved to England at the age of three when his father, a former professional footballer, bought Flamingo Land.

He was just 18 when he took over the running of the tourist attraction, after his father died in a car crash.

Flamingo Land, which opened in 1958, is now the 12th most visited theme park in Europe, attracting about 1.8 million people a year.

It has nearly 60 rides, including two water rides, as well as a gym, leisure centre, spa and golf course.

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