Police investigating 'number of' complaints about axed Padstow Christmas Festival

Padstow Christmas Festival
-Credit: (Image: Sharp’s Brewery)


Several complaints have been made to police about the axed Padstow Christmas Festival, the force has confirmed. Traders who paid thousands of pounds in deposits only for the event to be cancelled have been reporting the matter hoping for a resolution.

It's after they were told they wouldn't be getting a penny back despite the event not going ahead for 2024, with the organiser saying she used this year's deposit money to pay off bills from last year's event.

Devastated traders, however, have accused the organiser of fraud saying this should never have happened. Some claim to have forked out the money only days and weeks before the cancellation, believing the cancellation may have already been pending.

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A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Since the notification of the cancellation of the Padstow Christmas Market in 2024, police have received a number of complaints. Enquiries are ongoing at this time."

Traders say it is their understanding that all details have been passed on to the police department's fraud team. Anyone affected is urged to get in touch by contacting 101 and quoting reference number 257140524.

News first broke of the event's cancellation in early May with the organiser citing escalating costs and a lack of sponsorships as the reason. The cherished event, which has brought thousands of people into the area for the festive season each year and boosted the local economy massively, would have been gearing up for its 17th year.

Padstow Christmas Festival
The Padstow Christmas Festival in December 2019 -Credit:DCM

In the days that followed, heartbroken traders who had recently paid out deposits for the Christmas Market portion of the four day event asked for answers about whether they would be getting their money back. It was soon confirmed there was no money to return.

More than 60 traders were believed to have secured places for this year's market, due to take place between December 4 and 8, with a considerable deposit. An initial email informing them about the cancellation failed to address what would happen to any deposits and left them understandably concerned.

Tina Evans, the event organiser since its inception, later said she too had lost that money due to paying out for various bills ahead of the event. It later transpired that no business or service providers had paid deposits yet ahead of their involvement later this year.

Tina Evans, wearing a high vis jacket and a grey wooly hat
Tina Evans, the organiser of the extremely popular Padstow Christmas Festival, announced just over a week ago that it had been axed -Credit:Cornwall Live

This led out-of-pocket traders to further demand to know where their money had gone. Ms Evans then eventually confirmed she had used this year's money to pay off old debts, apologising. She said she had been "very upset" and felt traders were "not interested in [her] distress".

This came as she claimed to have used the deposits paid to secure a place in the market for 2024 to pay off debts left over from last year's event. "I am so sorry that you got hurt," she wrote in an email, which can be read here.

"I would not have wanted this for the world but I did and still feel it was the right decision. This left the whole summer to recoup any financial loss that you have incurred. You have got such a great business and I know you will enjoy great success. I am truly, truly sorry."

It's never been confirmed which sponsors are said to have pulled out of the event but major sponsor Sharp's Brewery confirmed it was not one of them. It said it was "deeply saddened" by the decision. Tina Evans has declined to comment on the situation.

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