Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Fraud probe into flight service from Oxford Airport

Martin Halstead
Martin Halstead denies he committed fraud

Police are investigating claims of fraud involving a company which ran flights between Oxford and Edinburgh.

Thames Valley Police received two complaints about Varsity Express, a business set up by entrepreneur Martin Halstead, dubbed "Baby Branson".

The service started on 1 March but was cancelled within a week, with some passengers left stranded in Scotland unable to return to Oxford Airport.

Mr Halstead, 23, has denied he, or the company, committed fraud.

The service was the latest in a series of business ventures led by Mr Halstead.

He launched his first commercial airline, Alpha One, as a teenager while living with his parents in 2005.

But the planned service between Oxford and Cambridge was dropped in favour of a service between Southampton and the Isle of Man.

Mr Halstead, who grew up in Oxford, was praised for his initiative by Richard Branson, earning him the nickname "Baby Branson".



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