Disney-party treat for kids left disappointed after South Shields Day Trips fraud probe

Some of the Disney characters who will be entertaining kids this weekend, in the aftermath of a Disneyland Paris trip falling through.
Some of the Disney characters who will be entertaining kids this weekend, in the aftermath of a Disneyland Paris trip falling through.

The organisers of a party for youngsters caught up in a Facebook travel agent collapse in South Tyneside say they have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity.

Omar Ames and Rachel McKeith say they were left heartbroken after hearing how families had been let down by South Shields Day Trips.

Disappointed holidaymakers had paid for a trip to Disneyland Paris, but were left hundreds of pounds out of pocket when it was cancelled at the last minute.

The issue is now subject of a police investigation.

A 24-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of fraud and is on police bail pending further inquiries.

Mr Ames who runs Frozen Store Direct – which hires out cartoon characters – with the help of volunteer Miss McKeith has organised a free party for those who should have been going on the trip.

The event is taking place at the Whiteleas Social Club, in South Shields, tomorrow and has already reached its capacity numbers.

The pair say they have been left overwhelmed by the generosity of South Tyneside residents after being inundated with offers of help after posting their plans on social networking site Facebook.

Miss McKeith said: “The response from people has been amazing.

“We have had so much help it is unbelievable. As soon as I put something on Facebook, I had one mum, Clare Hope, who wasn’t 
even affected, come forward to help me organise the event.

“We’ve had sweets and cakes donated for the kids and prizes donated for a tombola and raffle.

“We’ve also had children’s entertainers come forward and offer their services for free to help make it more special for the kids.”

Community Corner has donated £100 for a soft drinks bar tab for youngsters, AKA Diner has donated pizzas and Nestle has given bags of sweets along with Swainston’s sweet shop in Whiteleas.

Ocean Beach Pleasure Park has also donated vouchers.

Mr Ames said: “what started off as a party organised by us has turned into something huge – with businesses and people across South Tyneside getting involved.

“Even those who have not been affected want to do their bit for the kids.

“We haven’t been affected by this ourselves but we just wanted to do our bit to try and make things better for the kids. ”

The disco is provided by Cool Cats Disco while DJ Entertainment and Events will provide a magic show ahead of the doors opening.

A future event could be planned for affected families who have been unable to make the party.

For information, contact Rachel McKeith on the Frozen Store Direct facebook page.

The police fraud investigation was launched at the weekend.

Families across South Tyneside and surrounding areas thought they had paid for a bargain trip to the Disneyland fun park in Paris, but the trip was cancelled at the last minute.

People’s frustration over the situation quickly turned to anger and upset as parents were forced to tell their children the trip they had been looking forward to was not going ahead.

The police were contacted and a 24-year-old woman from South Shields was arrested on suspicion of fraud.

She remains on police bail pending further inquiries.

Meanwhile, it is understood officers are in the process of speaking with those affected.

The Facebook page South Shields Day Trips has since suspended trading pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police say more than 200 people have contacted them to log their complaints.

South Tyneside Council has also received a number of complaints and is urging people to seek advice from the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service.

A community page for victims of the cancelled trip has been set up on Facebook.

South Shields Day Trips Victims has gathered just under 1,500 ‘likes’.

People have taken to the page to share ideas for cheap activities and trips for families to make the most of during the school holidays.

People can contact police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference number 628 24/07/15.