SCORES of young swimmers were left stranded after a coach travel firm disappeared.
Victory Travel Ltd, based in High Street, Cosham, appears to have closed leaving customers with no travel arrangements.
The firm, which used to be based in Emsworth, appears to have disconnected its telephone numbers, closed its email accounts and its office is empty – leaving customers fearing they will not get their money back. It is also unresponsive on social media.
One organisation that has been affected is the Havant & Waterlooville Swimming Club.
Claire Peers, from the club, said 24 swimmers – aged between 12 and 17 – were due to go to London for a vital part of their training, but they found out the day before that their bus would not be coming.
Claire said: ‘We had a coach booked for 7am on Tuesday to take 24 swimmers to Crystal Palace for national training – and it was booked to bring them back on Thursday night.
‘However we found out at the last minute, so I had to frantically contact other coach firms to see if they had any space.
‘Luckily Pete’s Airlink managed to help us out.
‘They were really good and someone has even come in during their holiday to provide the extra cover.’
She said missing the training could have been damaging for the swimmers’ chances.
She added: ‘It’s difficult for our swimmers as there are no 50m pools to train in locally.
‘Some of our swimmers are training for the national championships.
‘It’s an important part of their training schedule.
‘Missing it could have been the difference to them making the team or not.’
The club had put down a £500 deposit, which Claire says she is doubtful of getting back.
She added that they had to pay out another £500 for the new coach.
She said: ‘We are a small swimming club and we have had to put down a deposit and pay out more. It’s not good.’
Portsmouth’s council leader Donna Jones said she was disappointed at the news. ‘I am disappointed to hear about Victory Travel,’ she said.
‘The way people appear to have been left without any notice is bad.’
The News tried to contact the company but no-one was available to comment