TV school guru ‘took kids’ cash then flew off to meet religious cult’

Yolande Beckles, star of the BBC 2 show “Don’t Mess With Miss Beckles,” is thought to have traveled to South Korea for meetings arranged by a front group for the Moonies.

The teenagers, from London, who each paid £1,000 for the educational holiday to Trinidad and Tobago are yet to get a refund.

Twelve children signed up for the trip, set to start on 10 July. But that day, organiser Yolande Beckles – star of BBC2 show Don’t Mess With Miss Beckles – called the trip off, claiming one of her children was gravely ill.

But it is understood that air tickets were never purchased.

Five days later, Ms Beckles is believed to have travelled with her family to South Korea for meetings arranged by religious cult the Universal Peace Federation – the Moonies.

Miss Beckles claimed she had rearranged the Caribbean trip for 23 August – this Thursday. But despite repeated calls, parents have heard nothing more.

Civil servant Funmi Wood, 40, from Neasden, whose 16-year-old son Gbenga had been due to go on the trip, said today: “She appears to have absconded and I have not got my money back.”

Miss Beckles was unavailable for comment today.

She was previously sacked from a charity for allegedly misusing a credit card and overpaying her mother. At least one of her businesses has failed, leaving debts of £125,000.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday August 22, 2007.
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