Appeal frees Lapland ‘con’ duo

Portsmouth Crown Court in Winston Churchill Avenue

Horndean paedophile sexually abused children as young as five

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TWO brothers jailed over a Lapland-style theme park ‘con’ have been freed in appeal – because a juror texted her fiance during their trial.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal announced that the convictions under Trading Standards legislation are ‘unsafe’.

Victor Mears, 67, of Selsfield Drive, and Henry Mears, 60, of Coombe Road, both in Brighton, were jailed for 13 months in March and have both now served their sentences.

Bristol Crown Court heard during their trial that they offered visitors to the Lapland New Forest attraction in November 2008 a winter wonderland with snow-covered log cabins, a nativity scene, husky dogs, polar bears and a Christmas market. On arrival families found a muddy field and a broken ice rink. The brothers denied eight charges of misleading advertising but were found guilty on all counts.

Yesterday their convictions were quashed.