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Criminal investigation launched by Trading Standards after airport ‘meet and greet’ firm goes bust

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West Sussex Trading Standards is leading a criminal investigation after a ‘meet and greet’ car park near Gatwick Airport went bust.

Returning holidaymakers had been left frantically searching for their cars after Gatwick First Parking Ltd ceased trading.

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The firm normally kept their cars at two secure compounds.

But it was discovered customers’ cars were also being parked in various unsecured locations, such as supermarket car parks and road lay-bys, across West Sussex and Surrey.

West Sussex Trading Standards, supported by Sussex Police, located all the vehicles and have been reuniting them with their owners.

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Officers are continuing to gather evidence as part of a criminal investigation.

West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager Richard Sargeant said:

“This has been a difficult and stressful time for those Gatwick passengers involved.

We are still trying to locate the director of Gatwick First Parking to assist our enquiries.

Fortunately, we have been able to contact some vehicle owners still away on holiday to warn them and give them advice for when they return.” 

Gatwick First Parking was not an approved off-airport parking operator, and ran independently of Gatwick Airport.

West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger, Safer Communities, Debbie Kennard, said:

“Our advice to protect consumers is to always use a Gatwick Airport approved trader when booking a “meet and greet” parking service.

Approved parking operators are reputable businesses and afford you far greater security while you are away.

You can find them by using our Buy With Confidence approved traders directory online by visiting www.buywithconfidence.co.uk.”

If you encounter anything suspicious related to airport parking, tell us via Trading Standards online www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or by calling Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.

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Crime

Crawley murder suspects released on ‘conditional bail’

Police say the two local men have been released on ‘conditional bail’ pending further enquiries.

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The scene at the property on Warren Drive. (Image taken 12/07/18)

Two men who were arrested in connection with the death of a woman in Ifield, Crawley have been released on ‘conditional bail’.

The two local men, aged 37 and 55, were arrested after emergency services were called to a fire at a flat in Warren Drive about 5.38pm on Wednesday (11 July).

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Emergency services carried out CPR on the 53-year-old woman but despite their best efforts, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police outside the property on Warren Drive. (Image taken 12/07/18).

A statement from Sussex Police says ‘next of kin have been informed’ and that the woman’s death is being treated as ‘suspicious’. She is yet to be formally identified and the cause of death as not yet been established.

The two men, who were also inside the property when police arrived, were arrested on suspicion of murder. Police say they have both been released on ‘conditional bail until 8 August pending further enquiries.’

More on this story: Two arrested on suspicion of murder after woman dies in Crawley fire

The fire is believed to have occurred in a bedroom on the first floor of the premises and was contained to that room.

Sussex Police said:

“The investigation continues and there are no further details available at this stage.

“Anyone with any information is asked to report it online or call 101 quoting Operation Brevis.

“Alternatively, you can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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