POLICE have launched an investigation into a cancelled Hampden exhibition for families with young children, from which charities and businesses stand to lose tens of thousands of pounds.
Police Scotland have begun a probe into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of The Good Parenting Show Scotland, which has left exhibitors seeking refunds.
The investigation was launched after at least one complaint was received from an exhibitor who has tried in vain to make contact with organiser Kevin Daly for more than a month.
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Mr Daly has told exhibitors the event may not be rescheduled because of online abuse that threatened his family's safety.
It has emerged he told exhibitors more than a month ago that they would be told "promptly" about the next course of action regarding refunds after deciding to cancel the show.
It is the last message exhibitors have had about the event, which was aimed at the parents of the 735,000 children aged up to 12 in Scotland.
He said it was "looking like" the exhibition could not go ahead after "sustained and unprofessional attacks across social media and also a distributive whispering campaign from a small core of exhibitors".
Mr Daly, who claims the cancellation came about because a exhibitions supplier disappeared, said appeals to support the show were "sadly ignored" and "hostility is now making this event possibly unworkable".
He told the exhibitors he had had to turn off phones and stop replying to emails and social media posts due to "verbal abuse and threatening behaviour", including from people who were accusing him of fraudulent or "scam" trading and threatening to inform the police.
He said:"This is utter madness, as we have paid out thousands of pounds, in venue, supplier and marketing fees, and common sense dictates -and we have evidence to prove the fact - that we have every intention providing a knockout event.
"I personally have [a] proven and excellent reputation in the parenting sector spanning nearly two decades, which overnight by a few has been shattered."
More than 100 exhibitors and more than 5000 parents were expected for the event, which organisers described as "the only major exhibition in Scotland for parents of children aged bump to 12 years old."
The event was due to be held at Hampden on May 17 and 18, but the venue was informed it had been cancelled 10 days earlier.
Attempts by prospective exhibitors to recover money have been met with no response and efforts to contact 41-year old Mr Daly have ended in failure.
In his last email to exhibitors, he said:"Now [it is] looking like we may not sadly be able to continue as the reputation [of the] show is looking damaged beyond repair.
"We will now take the proper course of action and look at the legal ramifications of issuing refunds were we can.
"This ... may lead us to cease trading as this has caused the future of the Good Parenting Show and other planned offerings such as a glossy Good Parenting Magazine to become unworkable. We are completely devastated by the thought of this."
Companies House documents show that Ayrshire-based Evolved Sales and Marketing Ltd, the company behind the show, was formed in September last year by Mr Daly and his wife Valerie Hall.
Mrs Daly has said she did not know what was happening about refunds, and insists she had nothing to do with the business.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman says: "We have received a complaint and inquiries are continuing."