A bridal boutique owner who conned women out of nearly £12,000 for ‘hand-made’ wedding gowns was found out when the brides found ‘made in China’ labels.
Melanie Bishop, 36, and mum Patricia, 60, tricked 13 brides into thinking they were buying bespoke gowns for their big day, some of which cost up to £1,000.
Furious brides first found out they had been duped when they spotted ‘made in China’ labels on their dresses.
But Bishop quickly shut up her shop in Newport, South Wales, leaving more than 100 other brides worried they would be left without dresses.
Both women are now facing jail after pleading guilty to 18 counts of engaging in unfair commercial practice.
Before she was charged with fraud, Bishop said a ‘hellish nightmare’ led her to close her bridal boutique, Anna Sara Bridal.
One bride Nichola Pakau, 34, said: ‘It has been an awful experience. It has affected my home life and work life.’
Melanie Bishop claimed her customers should have known their dresses from £700 to £1,000 were manufactured in China – and said she was the victim of a campaign of ‘abuse and lies’.
Bishop said: ‘In the space of three weeks my reputation is in tatters and I believe I will lose my house, my livelihood and the business I worked so hard to build up from scratch.
‘I haven’t stopped crying since it all spiraled out of control.
‘The reality is that these women have rallied together and whipped themselves up into a hysteria that is only based on one thing, the fact that my dress suppliers are based in China.
‘The dresses are not worth £40 and from ebay as these women believe. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘We own a factory that is staffed by 15 seamstresses. We run a legitimate business and I am devastated that this Facebook campaign of hate and lies is stopping my genuine customers from receiving their dresses.’
Both women, of Oakdale, near Blackwood, will be sentenced in March.