Couple scammed over fake Polar Express tickets

A railway company has warned customers over potential Facebook Christmas event scams.

Spa Valley Railway, in Tunbridge Wells, issued a message yesterday after a couple discovered they had fake tickets.

A couple bought fake tickets on Facebook for The Polar Express experience. Picture: Neal Shaw

The company holds special events throughout the year where people can catch a steam or heritage diesel train.

Covering a distance of five-and-a-half miles, the locomotives start at Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge, calling at High Rocks and the village of Groombridge.

During the festive period, they also hold a Polar Express experience – where youngsters, mums and dads can enjoy a recreation of the 2004 blockbuster film.

The event runs from the middle of November through till the end of December.

However, despite the railway confirming they were sold out this year, some unsuspecting customers fell victim to fake tickets through social media instead.

The Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Google

A statement on Spa Valley’s Facebook page warned others about potential scams.

“Today we have had a couple arrive at the railway, travelling over three hours to join us on The Polar Express,” it said.

“They came to customer services to pick up their tickets to find out the tickets they purchased off Facebook were in fact fake.

“This was not a legitimate booking, they had no seats on board.

“They were both heartbroken. We don’t want this to happen to you.

The unique event is very popular and sells out every year. Picture: Neal Shaw

“The only way to buy legitimate tickets is from us or our coach partners. We are completely sold out this year.”

It went on to say: “Remember if you are going to buy from a 3rd party make sure it’s someone you know and trust.

“We are not able to get you on the train, you will be turned away if your tickets are not legitimate.

“Also if we have to cancel the event for any reason and you have bought from a 3rd party you will not receive a refund or have any ticket protection.

“Buying from a 3rd party is entirely your own risk.”

The railway company posted a message on social media, warning others not to fall for scams. Picture: Neal Shaw

Several people commented under the post, with one saying: “How can someone be so unkind!”

Another said: “So sad for everyone, staff must have felt bad turning them away and the family must be heartbroken.”

Mark Haynes, marketing manager for the event, said: “Our Polar Express Train Ride is a sell out, with over 40,000 people visiting us this year to have a magical Christmas experience.

“Unfortunately, we have heard families who are desperate for golden tickets to our event are being targeted through Facebook, with the promise of tickets at a reduced price for a quick sale.

“We have had instances where these ‘tickets’ are not real and sadly families and couples have been taken advantage of at a time when money is particularly tight.”

Events Kent Tunbridge Wells Weald Cara Simmonds

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