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.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

More from Weston Mercury

13 minutes ago

The sky above Weston Cricket Club will once again become a flurry off bright, colourful lights and loud bangs.

Read more
21 minutes ago

Four Weston-super-Mare drug-dealers have been jailed for trying to sell cannabis.

Read more
33 minutes ago

A crafty initiative set up to spread kindness around the town is encouraging people to paint a poppy on a pebble to pay their respects on Remembrance Sunday.

Read more
Weston-super-Mare
07:33

The following court cases were heard at North Somerset Courthouse from August 21 to September 3.

Read more
In The Dock
09:00

Keen knitters have been busy making poppies which will cover a Weston church to mark the end of World War One.

Read more

Plans for 200 houses and a medical centre would ‘destroy’ a village’s ‘character’ after the landowner’s agents announced its plans to appeal the decision.

Read more
Yesterday, 20:00

One of the most nerve-shredding horror movie characters has been reborn again for a terrifying film which will hit cinema screens this autumn.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:25

Weston will face Harrogate Town or Wrexham in the first round of the FA Cup.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

A life-saving emergency service is looking for people to join its ranks as one of the busiest stations in the South West.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:31

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle will orchestrate a World War One centenary commemoration in Weston-super-Mare, remembering those who died in battle with a poignant display on the beach.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

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

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 9°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