Trading Standards reassure parents after couple sentenced for false claims about club’s insurance

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Trading Standards is working to reassure parents whose children attend sports clubs following the sentencing of two women who made false claims about insurance cover at their Tae Kwondo club.

Aylesbury Crown Court sentenced Jennifer Duncan and Joanne Fuller on July 29 to a suspended nine-month prison sentence for falsely claiming to have full public liability insurance, falsifying an insurance document when renewing their lease, and falsely claiming all instructors were CRB checked.

The pair, who ran the Aylesbury-based Tiger Martial Arts club, admitted the charges.

David Pickering, trading standards manager for Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, said legitimately run clubs and associations spent time, effort and money to comply with necessary legal requirement, such as public liability insurance.

‘It’s important parents have confidence their children are covered by insurance, and we want parents to be reassured that we will investigate thoroughly any indications we have that an organisation isn’t complying,’ he said. ‘If parents have real concerns, I’d ask them to call us.’

Andrew Kendall, prosecuting, said Miss Fuller and Miss Duncan, of Kitchener Road, High Wycombe, had told parents that a portion of the joining fee was to cover insurance. One parent had been told her boys would be covered in the event of an accident.

Parents were also informed verbally and in advertisements that all instructors were CRB checked but these claims were untrue as no instructor had even applied for a CRB check.

Judge Justin Cole said that not having insurance in place was not only dishonest but a dangerous thing to do when children were in the care of the defendants. He said most parents would not have allowed their children to take part in the martial arts lessons run by the defendants were they aware of the truth behind their false claims.

In mitigation, the court was told the defendants had financial difficulties and could not afford insurance payments or to pay for CRB checks. The court heard how their misconduct was due to mismanagement rather than an intention to defraud.

Both defendants were given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years, put under a 12-month supervision order, and each ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

The judge also put Miss Duncan on a three-month 7pm to 6am curfew, and ordered Miss Fuller to do 250 hours of unpaid work in the coming year.

They were found not-guilty of a theft charge, but two charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations will lie on file.

The case was brought by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards working in partnership with Thames Valley Police.