‘Scam travel operators’ warning to Hajj pilgrims to Mecca by Tower Hamlets Council
- Credit: Mike Brooke
A warning to worshippers about scams while taking part in Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca is being sent out by Tower Hamlets Council.
Cabinet member David Edgar has fired a warning shot that the authority will move against rogue operators.
Trading standards officers are visiting East End mosques after Friday prayers alerting those planning the pilgrimage to Mecca next month on what to watch out for when booking their trips.
Fraudsters and criminals could strike with bogus travel arrangements, the town hall has found.
"We won't hesitate to take action against rogue operators," Cllr Edgar, the cabinet member for the environment, has warned.
You may also want to watch:
"People put their trust in agents helping to plan their once in a lifetime trip and expect to be treated fairly."
This follows concerns in recent years with pilgrims losing money when unscrupulous operators shut down shop and often leave pilgrims stranded.
- 1 Transfer round-up: Leyton Orient bring in eight as departures find new clubs
- 2 Police chief to be quizzed at East London Mosque
- 3 Leyton Orient boosted by potential returns of Smyth and Drinan for Salford trip
- 4 Man stabbed outside West India Quay DLR station
- 5 Budding east London cricketers invited to watch The Hundred
- 6 Midfielder Ouss Cisse confirms Leyton Orient departure
- 7 Legendary east London graffiti pub to reopen after 26 years
- 8 Things to do in east London this weekend (August 7-8)
- 9 Somali kitchen in Bethnal Green gets halal help from Amazon staff
- 10 Youngsters have put themselves in Jackett's plans at Orient says Pratley
The town hall's trading standards office is gearing up to spot agents taking advantage of travellers.
Mayor John Biggs said: "There are a small number of unscrupulous outfits that would attempt to exploit people's religious devotion. Anyone booking their trip should to carry out checks and remain vigilant."
Previous issues have included agents disappearing with people's money from an operation in Whitechapel.
Complaints have also included pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia to find accommodation has been switched, hotel locations far from the holy sites or even flights booked outside of the five-day pilgrimage period.
The council, which urges pilgrims check they are booking through travel agents registered with ABTA or IATA and hold an Air Travel Organisers licence, is visiting mosques between 12 noon and 2pm each Friday until July 26 to give advice after prayers.
They start today at Bethnal Green's Bishops Way Mosque, followed on consecutive Fridays at Madina Jamme Masjid in Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, on July 12, Lansbury Estate Masjid in Alton Street, Poplar, on July 19, and lastly at Bow Common Masjid in Devons Road, July 26.
Some travel agents have already sold out for this year, the council has found, for this year's five-day pilgrimage period, from August 9 to 14.