Weston travel agent jailed for taking customers’ cash rather than booking their holidays

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 June 2018

Simon Dinham. Picture: City of London Police

Simon Dinham. Picture: City of London Police

City of London Police

A Weston travel agent who pocketed thousands of pounds instead of booking customers’ holidays has been jailed.

Simon Dinham was the boss of Thomas William Travel, which had an office in the Boulevard, when he committed a series of frauds, earning him £64,903.

He made a bogus insurance claim for a holiday he did not book and even fleeced one of his own employees out of thousands.

Between 2014 and 2016, Dinham diverted £38,003 of customers’ cash into his bank account, without booking their holidays.

Weston College lost £10,460 when it discovered a students’ trip to Poland had not actually been booked by Dinham, only a week before they were due to fly.

Its employee Helen George, in a statement read in court, said: “It caused a huge amount of pressure and emotional stress on staff as they tried to resolve the situation for students.”

One of Dinham’s victims was his own employee who booked a holiday through the company.

She only discovered her £5,000 had not been used to book a holiday when customers started arriving in the office to say there were problems with their bookings.

Dinham, aged 31 and of Colombo Crescent, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud, which included claiming £16,440 in travel insurance for a holiday he said he could no longer go on due to family illness.

The holiday had in fact been cancelled by Virgin Holidays as he had not paid the full amount to go on it in the first place.

Bristol Crown Court heard on Friday how Dinham operated independently, but was part of the Travel Network Group which offers customers financial protection.

The college and other customers got their money back through the Travel Network Group, which lost £38,003 in total.

The court heard how Dinham did not live a lavish lifestyle, but was instead using the money on his business in a bid to keep it afloat.

Defending, Nadeem Aullybocus said it was an ‘unsophisticated crime’, in which Dinham was always going to get caught. He described Dinham as a ‘broken man’.

Judge Julian Lambert jailed him for eight months. Another hearing in November will decide how much money Dinham will have to pay back to victims.

More from Weston Mercury

Yesterday, 20:00

The ELO Experience is celebrating the great music of Jeff Lynn and the Electric Light Orchestra at the Bristol Hippodrome next month.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

Weston RNLI’s open day raised around £2,000 for the charity.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Plans for Weston’s top sports clubs to share a ground have been scrapped, and both will pursue development of their own stadiums.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00

The mother of a Weston Hospicecare patient, who married her financé just before she died, is taking part in the Midnight Beach Walk in memory of her daughter.

Read more
Weston Hospicecare Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 13:00

The demon barber of Fleet Street has inspired the name of a new business in Milton.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:23

The Royal Marines Band will perform in a fundraising concert in Weston-super-Mare in September.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:04

A day of activities has been arranged for by villagers to celebrate the arrival of some of the best athletes in the world.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00

Westonians have called for a bowling alley to open at Dolphin Square after is occupiers talked of an ‘extremely positive’ start to life in the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:29

An anti-fracking campaign group says the vast majority of people it has spoken to do not want to see the process happen in the South West.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:24

Plans to increase the size of a Premier Inn hotel have been turned down by the council.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 18°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists