A family of 11 were left horrified when they turned up at Manchester Airport for their dream £7,000 Turkey holiday - only to find their tickets were forgeries.
Travel agent Ellen Harrison had taken their money and given them bogus tickets in return.
She pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud at Hull Crown Court this week, reports the Hull Daily Mail.
Maureen Kay, 67, had booked the holiday to Antalya through Harrison's company, Turkish Riviera Travel, and had used the company six times before.
But Harrison had got herself into financial difficulty, and had used the Kays' money to pay off other business expenses.
She kept up the deceit for a year while the family looked forward to their holiday, even letting them arrive at the airport before they realised what had happened.
On the day of the holiday Harrison had sent Mrs Kay two texts trying to deter her from going, that talked of political unrest in Turkey. One read "Don't take those two beautiful children to Turkey," followed by: "It's cancelled. Speak to you later."
Mrs Kay had spent £7,500 of her savings to fund the holiday.
According to the Daily Mail, Recorder Anthony Hawks told Harrison: "It must be every holidaymaker's worst nightmare. You should be ashamed of yourself.
"You have brought disgrace on yourself and lost your business. I have thought about sending you to prison.
"I cannot see how sending you to prison for a short time would be of any assistance to anyone, particularly the Kays."
He ordered she should be given an eight-month suspended prison sentence, complete 150 hours unpaid work and pay £1,000 compensation to the Kays.
After the hearing, Mrs Kay, 67, a care worker from Hull, said: "Ellen Harrison ruined my holiday and has not expressed any remorse. She is a woman I knew and she betrayed me.
"She thinks she has got away with it. I want her naming and shaming. I also don't think I will see the money again.
"She is supposed to pay me £40 a month, but she will find a way out of that."
According to the Hull Daily Mail, Mrs Kay added: "I didn't realise anything until I got to the airport and got her text. It was absolutely horrendous. I just felt absolutely gutted for everyone.
"I saw them all sitting on the suitcases and the image has stayed with me. We got to the check-in desk and discovered the tickets she had given us were bogus.
But Mrs Kay said she was determined her family would go on holiday and spent another £8,000 organising another holiday with Thomas Cook on the spot.
However, Mrs Kay added that she had not enjoyed the holiday, and it had all been ruined by Mrs Harrison.
It's not just us normal folk who have holiday nightmares...
Celebrity holiday disasters
Family of 11 arrive at airport for £7k Turkey holiday to find tickets forged
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It's been four decades since Petula Clark urged us to forget all our troubles with her 1965 hit song Downtown, but since then poor Petula has been plagued with holiday disasters, including trips to Bermuda and Ohio. Petula told The Times of her woes on a holiday with family in Marrakesh: 'I was working and caught a later flight [to Marrakesh], arriving at 1am. The taxi dropped me at the house, which was in total darkness. I rang and rang the bell until eventually my daughter dragged herself to the door. It turned out all of them had a sickness bug that they must have picked up on the plane. I spent days driving round Marrakesh getting doctors and medicine, trying to get the family back on their feet again. It hasn’t put me off Marrakesh, I still love it.”
Surely the king of laid-back cool, Mr Michael Caine, couldn't have had a disastrous holiday? Many of us enjoy a bit of a soak in the sun, but film legend Michael recalls a solar experience that put him off catching the rays. He told The Times about his first holiday in Cannes during the film festival in 1962: 'I learnt a lot of lessons on that trip. One of them was to avoid sunbathing. I fell asleep one day in the sun and got sunburnt. The gardener who looked after [Peter] Ustinov’s house said: 'You have to put tomatoes on it.' He was rubbing tomatoes on my burns, and it smelt like someone was cooking breakfast. I was thinking: 'Who’s cooking breakfast in the middle of the afternoon?' But it was my face, with those bleeding tomatoes. I have never sunbathed since, despite living in the sunshine of Hollywood for about 10 years and filming in some of the world’s sunniest locations.'
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