'Fraud' hotel saved

PUBLISHED: 14:13 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

A MYSTERY buyer has stepped in to save the Soham Lodge Hotel after the company was hit by fraudsters. Weddings, weekly business meetings and the Soham Bike Show were all scheduled to take place at the hotel, on the A142 at Qua Fen Common, but the hotel i

A MYSTERY buyer has stepped in to save the Soham Lodge Hotel after the company was hit by fraudsters.

Weddings, weekly business meetings and the Soham Bike Show were all scheduled to take place at the hotel, on the A142 at Qua Fen Common, but the hotel is now closed while the take-over is finalised, causing panic among people who had booked the venue.

The Ely Standard received a telephone call from a worried mum who has booked the hotel for her daughter's wedding reception next month and has been unable to find out what is happening.

Soham Staploe Rotary Club has moved its weekly meeting to the Cherry Tree pub at short notice.

In February, police began investigations into allegations of fraud at the hotel, which are still ongoing. No arrests have been made, but the fraud was discovered after a former member of staff went on holiday.

A police spokesperson said: "Officers are investigating a case of fraud by false representation reported to police on February 11. No arrests have yet been made."

A spokesperson for the new owners, Peter Rivers, said: "Bookings for functions will be honoured where feasible. Everyone who has booked will be contacted but I would ask them to be patient. It's a worrying time for everybody and we understand that. All weddings and other functions will go ahead where possible and we do see a positive future for the company."

Manager Julie Hobbs was unavailable for comment, but her husband told the Ely Standard she has been working 17-hour days to try to turn the company around.

Soham Lodge Hotel publicises itself as an exclusive venue for both private and corporate functions such as events, conferences and especially weddings. There are 16 luxury en-suite rooms and it was named Award Winner for Best Hotel in the Fens for Friendliness, Hospitality and Facilities from Hidden Places of England.

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