A TIMESHARE conman who used high-pressure sales techniques to get his victims to part with cash for “virtually worthless” accommodation has been ordered to repay those who lost out.

Francis ‘Frank’ Madden, 62, who first appeared before the courts charged with similar offending in 2001, had his staff cold-call hundreds of members of the public every day and invite them to presentations for holiday club companies Central Marketing Ltd, Glenleigh Ltd and Reco Corp Ltd.

Although victims were told the presentations would take around two hours, they often lasted up to five hours. During some of the presentations, loud music would be played throughout. At the end, “exhausted” participants would be escorted to cashpoints.

Although victims were told they could later cancel their contracts during a ‘cooling off’ period, when they attempted to do so, they were told it was not possible.

Those who attempted to book a break would frequently find there was limited availability. When a holiday was booked, the accommodation was often sub-standard, a court heard.

Customers trying to complain found the companies had changed addresses. Calls and emails went unanswered.

Madden, of Wellington Road in Bournemouth, was sentenced in May last year to 40 months in prison after admitting three counts of fraudulent trading. He also admitted a further count of breaching a suspended sentence order made in 2012.

A subsequent Proceeds of Crime Act investigation into his financial affairs identified that he had made £135,000 from the three businesses.

At a hearing held at Bournemouth Crown Court, Judge Stephen Climie ordered Madden to hand over £20,000 of available assets within the next three months, including £10,534 to be returned to 16 victims who took part in the prosecution.

The judge also banned Madden from taking part in or owning any timeshare related business for a period of 10 years. He is currently disqualified as a company director.

Councillor Lewis Allison of BCP Council, said: “Trading Standards staff from the former Poole and Bournemouth councils, supported by the South West Regional Investigations Team, spent many months contacting witnesses, pulling together evidence and untangling the complex web of his dishonest businesses and his financial affairs.

“We hope this confiscation order will go some way towards compensating his victims for their loss and serve as a deterrent that we will not tolerate fraudsters.”

Peter Haikin, regulatory services manager for Trading Standards, said: "These cases are extremely difficult to process but in addition to successfully prosecuting Mr Madden in 2018, BCP Council Trading Standards have now succeeded in getting him banned from being legally involved in the operation of any timeshare or holiday club related business for the next 10 years.

"We hope that this will put an end to any potential of Mr Madden’s fraudulent timeshare businesses operating again in the area.”