Gambler who left holidaymakers £65,000 out of pocket to repay just £1

A travel agent who left holidaymakers more than £65,000 out of pocket for booked trips that failed to materialise has been ordered to repay just £1.

Angry would-be holidaymakers in February 2020 after learning they would not be going away
Angry would-be holidaymakers in February 2020 after learning they would not be going away

Anthony Taylor, aged 57 - who had gambling issues and spent some of the money on expensive hotels and goods - was jailed for four years last year for fraudulent trading and also banned from being a company director.

For fraudulent trading Taylor, of Mount Road, Portobello, Willenhall, was jailed for his actions last December.

His Bilston-based TT Tours venture ceased trading in February 2020, leaving hundreds of elderly customers stranded when the coaches failed to turn up for a break to Torquay, Devon. About 300 victims, including pensioners’ clubs, lost their money as a result.

Taylor had admitted an offence each of fraudulent trading, unfairly offering package holidays without security, and engaging in unfair trading relating to holidays and outings to the tune of £65,595.

At a proceeds of crime hearing held in Taylor's absence at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Wednesday he was ordered was pay the nominal sum of £1 or spend a day in custody in default.

Tony Taylor's unit at Bilston Market was seized by trading standards after not showing up to return money to angry customers

Prosecuting barrister Ben Mills: "He was sentenced on December 12 for fraudulent trading relating to sums of £65,595. A confiscation timetable was set and a statement of assets was provided by him.

"There were no assets. Mr Taylor was a gambler.

"The defendant's benefit from his general criminal conduct is £65, 595. His available asset is nil. He is currently in custody serving a four-year sentence.

"Therefore I ask that a confiscation order in the sum of £1 with payment within three months be made.

"The parties ask for custody of one day in default."

Recorder Mr Patrick Upward agreed to the order.

Taylor must also pay the victims' surcharge. There was no order for costs or compensation.

He must serve half of the four-year prison sentence before being released on licence. There was no separate penalty for the commercial offences.

Taylor was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years for his actions.

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