AN alleged fraudster used photographs of Borders General Hospital's car park to lure in travellers flying out of Gatwick Airport, a court has been told.

But, it is alleged, the conmen then dumped the vehicles in a muddy field.

London Parking Gatwick Ltd offered a valet parking service in secure locations with CCTV and 24 hour security guards on its website.

And they provided images of the hospital car park outside Melrose as evidence of where the vehicles would be left.

But instead, it is alleged, they dumped the cars in muddy fields around Ifield, near Gatwick and at other locations miles from the airport

Unsuspecting customers paid Asad Malik more than £1m over a two year period while he was using a picture of the BGH car park on his Gatwick airport parking websites, the jury at Lewes Crown Court in Brighton was told.

Richard Heller, barrister for West Sussex County Council Trading Standards, told them in reality the cars were used for joyrides and to tow other vehicles before being parked in muddy fields unlocked or with the keys stuck to the windscreen in a clear plastic bag.

The jury in Brighton were told cars were driven extra miles, returned dirty and damaged to their owners or not returned at all.

Malik, 37, from Crawley, fraudulently claimed customers cars would be kept secure and returned undamaged, he said.

Mr Malik also told customers they had no right to complain after leaving the airport despite warnings from Trading Standards officers he was breaking the law.

Customers' cars were used to drag other vehicles through mud, returned damaged and dirty and complaints were ignored, Mr Heller said.

Mr Malik and his company London Parking Gatwick Ltd are accused of six counts of fraudulent trading, unfair and misleading commercial practice between October 2015 and August 2016.

Several complaints were uncovered by Trading Standards Officers and more unhappy customers came forward during the investigation.

“In June 2016, Sylvia Goodman said her car was returned with a bent key, the language on the dashboard display was changed to one she didn’t recognise, there was hardly any fuel left, it was dirty, the time had been changed and there was litter in the car including a Co-Op receipt for mini garlic naans,” Mr Heller said.

The naan breads had been purchased four-and-a-half hours after she dropped her car off at the airport expecting it to be parked a few minutes drive away, the court heard.

“Which gives rise to the obvious question – where had it been in that time and why wasn’t it taken to, and left at, one of the parking locations,” Mr Heller added.

Other drivers received parking tickets after their cars were left at petrol stations around Gatwick airport.

Another customer was forced to search through fields himself for his own car after London Gatwick Parking failed to return it.

“Christopher Allen, who used LPG’s services in June 2016, returned to Gatwick expecting to have his car brought to him but despite several attempts to contact the company he could not do so.

“He describes how with the help of other passengers he managed to locate his car in a muddy field some five to six hours after he arrived,” Mr Heller continued.

Trading Standards officers booked several mystery shopper test purchases for cars fitted with a tracking devices.

“The investigation revealed a multiplicity of dishonest practice, misleading claims and unfair commercial practices,” Mr Heller said.

Malik and London Parking Gatwick Ltd deny six counts of fraudulent trading.

The trial at Lewes Crown Court in Brighton continues.