Woman 'distraught' over Lapland dismay

A woman has told a court of her "sheer disappointment" at visiting a Lapland-style theme park which she thought would be a magical Christmas experience.

Angela Barnes was left distraught having bought tickets to go to the Lapland New Forest UK attraction near Ringwood, Hampshire.

Mrs Barnes yesterday said she had believed the descriptions on the park's website which offered a winter wonderland with snow-covered log cabins, a nativity scene, husky dogs, polar bears and other animals, as well as a bustling Christmas market.

However, as jurors at Bristol Crown Court have been told, instead of the promised magical festive treat, visitors experienced fairy lights hung from trees, tethered dogs, a plastic polar bear and a broken ice rink.

Mrs Barnes told the court that after seeing an advert and viewing the park's website she bought 60 tickets for herself and her husband for the weekend it opened in November 2008.

"It looked so wonderful and exciting and was something I had not been to before," she told jurors. "The 'magical tunnel of light' attracted me as did the 'bustling Christmas market'."

Mrs Barnes, from Southsea, Hampshire, explained to jurors that her excitement was quickly spoilt as she saw the highly anticipated 'tunnel of light'.

"I thought it was an introduction to what was going to get better. I didn't realise I was properly inside the attraction," she said.

Mrs Barnes said she had walked around looking for the 'tunnel of light' and added: "I was sad because I persuaded my husband to go because I got excited by these things, because I felt I had dragged him along to something that was a waste of money.

"The thing was I was looking forward to seeing the 'magic tunnel of light', which on the website looked stunning, but it just didn't exist."

Victor Mears, 67, and Henry Mears, 60, from Brighton, deny five charges of engaging in a commercial practice which is a misleading action and three charges of engaging in a commercial practice which is a misleading omission.

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