A Crown Court judge has ordered a Leeds travel agent to pay £6,700 in compensation to five customers after he admitted trading without an Air Travel Organiser's Licence.
In a landmark ruling, Gurmit Chaggar of Economy Travel, New Briggate was told to repay the cash he took from clients for tickets he never delivered.
Leeds Crown Court heard how Chaggar's business got into trouble when he was hit with a £21,000 bad debt when another firm went into liquidation, leaving him without cash to obtain the tickets.
Judge Paul Hoffman said Chaggar only escaped going to jail because his actions had been "reckless rather than downright dishonest".
The compensation money will be given to the Civil Aviation Authority, which brought the case to court, to pay the five customers who lost their money.
Head of licensing at the CAA, Helen Simpson, welcomed the ruling. "In cases like this there is no bond to recompense the victims. We will certainly press for compensation in future cases we bring," she said.
Chaggar was fined a further £5,000, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £5,500 and banned from being a company director for four years.
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