Search

Forest Gate travel agent arrested in Hajj fraud probe

08:54 22 August 2014

Thousands throng around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca

Thousands throng around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca

Archant

A Forest Gate travel agent has been arrested and £400,000 seized over the suspected fraudulent sale of package holidays to devout Muslims making the once-in-a-lifetime Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

The 42-year-old was quizzed by police as part of an on-going investigation into scam tour operators who sell non-existent flights, hotels and visas or provide sub-standard accommodation and travel.

His travel agency was searched on Wednesday following the earlier arrest of another 37-year-old man operating a separate travel agency from a residential address in Hackney. They were both later released on bail.

Police are not revealing the identities of the men or the names of the travel agencies.

An estimated £400,000 was seized in the raids which were part of a crackdown by Birmingham City Council Trading Standards, Newham Council Trading Standards and the City of London Police, which is the National Policing Lead for Fraud

Every year 25,000 UK Muslims make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in October joining up with two million fellow Muslims to celebrate Hajj.

Many of them save for years in the knowledge that, for them, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Many will be ripped-off by criminals either pocketing the money for trips which do not exist or falsely claiming to be ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) accredited, leaving victims with no travel insurance or protection should something go wrong.

The operation was led by trading standards officers from Birmingham which has a large Asian community.

Sajeela Naseer, Head of Trading Standards for Birmingham City Council, said: “The visits related to businesses which we believe are defrauding and misleading their customers, one of which has already been previously warned.

“We have been successfully prosecuting such operators for a number of years, and through our investigations we are identifying many more operators like these who are trading nationally through the internet or advertising.”

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 15:05
Children enjoy the Father Christmas parade at Gallions Reach Shopping Centre

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as lights went up across the borough this weekend.

Stratford Centre
Yesterday, 14:33
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is coming to the Olympic park this week. Picture: EMPICS Sport/PA Images

It’s your last chance to win tickets to watch the world’s best wheelchair tennis players return to the Olympic park.

Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
Yesterday, 12:42
Young children take to the court at the Disablity Tennis Festival at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre

The first disability tennis festival for young people has been held in the former Olympic park.

Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
Yesterday, 12:06
Staff and students at Eastlea Community broke the world record

A history lesson involving staff and students from a secondary school has broken the world record for featuring the most multi-national people.

Eastlea Community School

Most read news

Fears over growing extremist threat that is expected to continue for several years.

Once inside, one man held a seven-inch kitchen knife to a victim’s throat while another threatened a second victim with a knife.

His lawyers want the case against him in South Africa dropped.

It’s that time of year again, who do you think should win the Sports Personality of the Year award?

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition