TWO brothers who conned thousands of people into visiting what they claimed was a Lapland-style theme park have been jailed.
Victor Mears, 67, and Henry Mears, 60, offered visitors a winter wonderland with snow-covered log cabins, a nativity scene, husky dogs, polar bears and other animals, as well as a bustling Christmas market, at Matchams Leisure Park, near Ringwood.
But instead hundreds of visitors from the Portsmouth area – who were each charged £30 a ticket – found a muddy field, a broken ice rink and fairy lights hung from trees.
Within days of the Lapland New Forest attraction opening in November 2008, hundreds of visitors complained to trading standards.
Victor, of Selsfield Drive, and Henry, of Coombe Road, both Brighton, were found guilty last month of misleading advertising at Bristol Crown Court.
Prosecutor Malcolm Gibney said: ‘The only feeling of ‘wow’ that many of the consumers felt was “wow, what a con”.’
They were both given 13 months in prison.