Turkey investigating missing Truck Monkey owner
Stranded tourists reveal how dream truck road trip turned to nightmare
Sean White, the owner of Truck Monkey is currently missing as Turkish authorities investigate how he abandoned his converted Scania truck and passengers in the Turkish town of Selcuk.
Six passengers were in the third week of a 13-week trip between the UK and Nepal, organised by Truck Monkey Overland Tours when owner/driver White left them at a hostel after the truck broke down last month. White has not been seen since and is also alleged to have taken a safe containing passenger money and passports with him.
Truck Monkey was set up by the former coach driver, who claimed he decided to run his own tour company after many years of running overland tours for different companies in the Middle East and India.
With both Turkish and UK authorities investigating the matter, passengers told the Mansfield Chad newspaper that they were alarmed about White's behaviour and the tour's validity soon after they left London.
“The truck was green and not black and orange as advertised but Sean made out this was the newest to his fleet,” Nicole Hazell said. "But the truck was very basic, the seats were second-hand from a coach but they were old. The overhead steel roller bars were all rust and had not been painted.
“The listed flat screen TV and jukebox were nowhere to be seen and the food provisions were all Tesco Value range. Things did not seem right.”
She told the Mansfield Chad that the group was initially refused entry to Turkey on the Turkish/Bulgaria border because White had classified the truck as a mobile home.
“He said they had changed regulations that same week and he needed different papers. But it turned out that he had registered his truck as a mobile home and had not even got the proper vehicle insurance which would have been £220,” added Nicole. “He put a mattress at the front and a cooker at the back and reclassified as a mobile which cost him £90. But the border staff weren’t accepting this as to them it was a truck so we had to reverse and go back into Bulgaria which took another five hours.
“We had to obtain papers from the police commissioner for re-entry, we then drove to Greece and got through another border that was not so strict.
Later in Selcuk, the truck broke down and White was last seen by the passengers as they headed for a local hostel. It is believed he has returned to the UK, but PMV has been unable to contact him at his office and the website promoting his tour has been shut down. Visitors to the site are greeted with a message reading: “www.truckmonkeyoverland.com is closed. Pending a full investigation.”
Responding to the article in the Mansfield Chad a person claiming to be one of the six passengers wrote: “I severely mistrusted Sean White and left the trip only three days after we set off on our '13 week adventure' to Kathmandu."
'HayleyS’ added: “Here were just a few of the issues encountered in my three days: 1. Truck was completely rusted throughout, had no seatbelts and none of the electricals promised. 2. He gave false information regarding people's health, having said we required no immunisations or malaria pills for the trip. Apparently he'd had malaria, was paralysed for 12 hours and 'it wasn't that bad'. 3. He made up his own references, pretending to be past passengers and had given a false name. 4. His 'experienced crew' was his mate John, who had never been on an overlanding trip in his life.
“I was lucky enough to escape the tour before the issues in Turkey but I am aware that some members of the group had their money and passports stolen, which was not mentioned above. We have all been investigating Sean White since our return and we now know he is in fact a career criminal with several aliases and at least 55 convictions, including theft, fraud, burglary and arson. He breathes scams.”