AN Aldershot couple who may have been victims of a complex timeshare scam are warning others not to be taken in.

Fraud squad detectives and trade organisations said they are also investigating a number of companies who may be operating a "resale scam".

Ken and Betty Macdonald, who have handed over more than £600 to two companies that guaranteed selling their timeshare holiday, fear many others may also have been duped.

The Macdonalds, pictured, who own a two-week timeshare in Lanzarote, were contacted by Malaga-based Sun Holidays in October 2000.

They paid £290 for the company to sell the timeshare. Sun Holidays promised the money would be returned if the timeshare had not been sold within a year.

Just before the year was out a second company called and offered a similar service. The Macdonalds, both 69, paid another £330.

Meanwhile a third company offered to get their money back, claiming they had been victims of fraudsters. But the Macdonalds turned them down when they too demanded an up front payment of £167.

After making a statement to Aldershot police, Mr and Mrs Macdonald were shocked to find there may be many others who have fallen for what has become known as the "resale scam".

"We've paid somewhere between £8,000 and £10,000 on the timeshares so we were quite keen to get it back. They said we'd get more money back than we'd paid for it, so we thought it was an investment," said Mr Macdonald.

The Macdonalds have been trying to get their money back since October. When the Mail tried to contact Sun Holidays, there was no reply.

Mrs Macdonald said they paid the second company thinking they would soon be getting their money back from Sun Holidays.

Det Con Graeme Aggar, of Aldershot CID, said: "There has been a lot of complaints about this sort of thing and they are already being investigated."

He said the complaint would be referred to the National Crime Intelligence Service and Interpol.

He added some companies claiming to investigate fraudulent timeshare com-panies were also being scrutinised by police following complaints.

Det Con Roy Baston of New Scotland Yard Fraud Squad called on anyone who believed they had been ripped off to go to the police with all the relevant paperwork.

The Organisation for Timeshare in Europe (OTE) confirmed it had received complaints about Sun Holidays and the other companies which contacted the Macdonalds. Peter van de Mark, OTE secretary general, said none of them was a member of the OTE.

He advised consumers to deal with OTE registered companies because the organisation has a code of ethics all its members must stick to.