Leeds golf tour company that took £500,000 for Masters packages could face criminal investigation

Sergio Garcia at last year's Masters
Sergio Garcia at last year's Masters
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A criminal investigation is likely to be launched into a Leeds tour operator that took about £500,000 for overseas trips that it allegedly never booked.

More than 200 people, including a number of charities, have been left out of pocket following the collapse of Augusta Golf Tours Ltd.

The company, which had offices in Cookridge, had been paid an average of nearly £2,500-a-head to organise trips to next month’s Masters tournament in Augusta, United States.

But administrators for the company said there was no evidence that tickets for the prestigious event, or flights to the US, had ever been arranged.

Among those who have lost out is a group that was raising money for the armed forces charity Help for Heroes.

David Wilson, of Leeds insolvency and recovery company DFW Associates, said: “It would appear that a fraud has been committed.

“There are no proper records and no real effort appears to have been made to make bookings and we can only assume there was never an intention to do so.

“Sadly, among those affected are a number of charities.”

Augusta Golf Tours was a successor to a company called Go 2 Augusta, which was based in Halifax. The firm ran a successful tour to the US for hundreds of golf fans for last year’s tournament, which is one of the sport’s premier events.

However, it went out of business a fortnight before this year’s tournament tees off on April 10.

Mr Wilson, who said the company’s boss Andrew Witney was co-operating with his inquiries, said all evidence gathered during his investigations would be passed on to the police.

“There are a lot of angry people who have been affected,” he added.

The Augusta Golf Tours website has been taken down and no-one was available for comment.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said it would publish information on the website www.atol.org.uk in the coming days to help those affected.

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