Travel firm chief is accused of stealing thousands from wounded veterans charity: War heroes doing fundraising bike ride – including Britain’s most injured serviceman – are told New Zealand seats they had covered in advance will not exist
- Charity Pilgrim Bandits had paid Black Tip Travel Ltd for flights to New Zealand
- Double amputee Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson was the type of on the trip
- The travel company, that is located in Tonbridge, Kent, denied any wrongdoing and said it couldn’t supply the 22 seats due to ‘simple errors’
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Police are investigating the alleged theft by way of a travel company of thousands of pounds from the charity for injured veterans founded by Special Forces servicemen.
The charity, Pilgrim Bandits, had paid Black Tip Travel Ltd for flights with the Emirates airline to New Zealand for a fundraising cycle ride.
Among those on the trip was Britain’s most injured serviceman, Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, a double amputee who’s serving with the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery still.
The veterans getting involved in the ride were told only two days before these were because of fly out in October that the tickets for the 22-strong party was not booked, regardless of the charity having covered them weeks beforehand.
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, a double amputee, (pictured with Andre Edwards during trained in August) was on the list of 22-strong group who booked tickets to New Zealand
Black Tip Travel, located in Tonbridge, denies any wrongdoing and says it had been unable to supply the tickets due to ‘simple errors’.
Kent Police have confirmed they’re investigating the allegations of theft.
L/Bdr Parkinson, 34, was injured in Afghanistan in 2006 when his Land Rover went over an anti-tank mine, and he needs 24-hour care now.
His mother, Diane Dernie, is really a trustee for Pilgrim Bandits and told The Mail on Sunday they used Black Tip Travel because sole director Dale Whitney, 34, was so ‘persuasive and charming’.
Dale Whitney, 34, (pictured) may be the sole company director of Black Tip Travel that is located in Tonbridge, Kent
She added: ‘He there&rsquo said;d been a mix-up with Emirates. At the crunch time he said there have been no tickets. He didn’t give a conclusion as such. He said the continuing business have been struggling.’
Pilgrim Bandits had to dip into funds reserve for a well planned visit to the Yukon next year to get tickets for the flights.
The veterans successfully rode 1,521 miles along New Zealand’s North South and Island Island on modified tandems.
Ms Dernie added that her son have been protected from the strain of the uncertainty on the tickets before he flew out and took part in the ride.
She said: ‘He says it’s the great thing he’s done in his life ever! That’s testament to those that pulled it from the bag in the most beautiful way.’
She is furious with Mr Whitney, saying: ‘Injured soldiers have incredible support from people in this national country, which man did this in their mind yet. You can find no expressed words. He’s the cheapest of the reduced.’
There was no sign of Mr Whitney once the Mail on Sunday tried to get hold of him at his £300,000 semi-detached home in Tonbridge or at the working offices of Black Tip Travel, off the town&rsquo just;s TRADITIONAL, week last.
A statement on the business website said: ‘Black Tip Travel Ltd happens to be undergoing some issues and we have been trying to sort out these as fast as possible. We have been getting insolvency advice so we are able to sort out these problems currently.’
Last night a police spokesman said: ‘Kent Police is investigating an allegation of theft concerning an ongoing business in Tonbridge.
‘A 34-year-old man from Tonbridge was arrested on suspicion of theft on December 2 and contains been released pending further enquiries.’
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