Family of 11 arrive at airport for £7k Turkey holiday to find tickets forged

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.

"She even told us there had been a terrorist attack to stop us travelling and said here was a news blackout on it. It is absolutely disgusting what she has done."

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...

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Family of 11 arrive at airport for £7k Turkey holiday to find tickets forged

They say your childhood years are the best of your life, but that's not the case for comedian Vic Reeves, if his memorable family holidays are anything to go by. Vic told The Telegraph of damp tents and tiny toilets: 'When I was a kid we would go on camping holidays and I went to Whitby once with my mum, dad and sister.We all got the squits and it absolutely poured down with rain. There was just one really tiny toilet. We took it in turns. I remember sitting in the tent and staring at the rain.'

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Having made Rom-Com film Four Christmases, Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon became an expert on the stresses of a holiday nightmare. Reese’s character Kate finds herself stuck having to visit her four divorced parents and in-laws on Christmas day – awkward holiday hell ensues with hilarity. When promoting the film, Reese told interviewers about a disastrous family trip of her own: 'I remember there was a time we went on a ski vacation where it was so cold that we couldn't even leave the hotel, so we all just sat there - it was cold and horrible. Plus my brother and I fought like dogs.'

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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.”

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