An individual has been jailed, in the one of the first cases of it's kind, after he made £1.4 million leaving holidaymakers' cars parked in muddy fields with their keys stuck to the windows.
Mr Asad Malik, 38, used fake reviews, and photographs of a different car park, hundreds of miles away to lure customers into booking parking spaces with him.
It was alleged that his company simply dumped vehicles in fields or residential streets. Separately one vehicle was found to have been driven 185 miles whilst they were on holiday. Other holiday makers came home to find damage to their vehicles or unpaid parking tickets.
The court heard that unsuspecting customers paid Asad Malik made more than £1m over a two year period. Malik was jailed for 14 months at Brighton Crown Court.
Despite outstanding concerns about the industry as a whole this is believed to be one of the first occassions when an airport parking boss has been jailed for "scamming".
In his advertising Mr Malik claimed that cars would be parked by professional chauffeurs, in secure compounds, which were monitored by CCTV.
The jury found Malik guilty of three counts of defrauding or misleading customers which were in breach of consumer protection laws. As a condition of the case Malik was disqualified from acting as a company director of any business for the next four years.
The Pakistani businessman had previously worked for BT after completing a masters in Satellite Communications and Space Studies at the University of Sussex, Brighton.
During 20 months trading, from 2014 more than £1.4 million passed through the company accounts.
The Trading Standards team manager for West Sussex County Council, Richard Sargeant, said, "I would urge anyone using a Gatwick meet and greet business to only use a Trading Standards-approved company."
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