HAMPSHIRE residents have been tricked into attending a fake vegan festival in Romsey by a man who "hates vegans".

A man called "Derick Dumper" started an Facebook page and has been promoting a vegan festival event on his profile since November 27.

The event promised to be a "fantastic day out for the family", with over 30 local vegan stalls, face painting, crafts, music and a children's treasure hunt.

However, when it came to the event on Sunday December 22, it was revealed that it was in fact all a hoax.

A vegan group from Southampton attended the event, in the hopes of running a stall, but were disappointed to discover that it had all been made up.

A representative from the group, who doesn't want to be named, said: "We thought he was doing it out of the kindness of his heart, he appeared so genuine. Over the month, he completely sold himself as being vegan.

"It makes us look unprofessional and disorganised, we're so embarrassed that we got sucked in.

"We were trying to bring in compassion to Southampton. Why would he do this, why does he hate us?"

The fake event was advertised to be taking place at the Romsey Town Hall, but town centre manager, Mark Edgerley knew nothing about it.

He said: "We were not party to this activity, we do try and do due diligence on new users and I doubt this person would have got past first base.

"It looks like a serious misuse of Facebook, I suspect the person who wrote it knew we have had Vegan Fairs at the Town Hall in the past so it made it look a bit more believable.

"Lesson to all, not all you read on Facebook is factual, fact is some key board warriors live very sad lives."

Since it was all revealed to be fake, Mr Dumper has been gloating on his Facebook profile about his plan, saying things like "Christmas is about eating as much meat as possible" and "today was a successful day, look out for more vegan events".

Councillor Nick Adams-King, Deputy Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, said: "It’s so sad people feel able and justified in perpetrating this kind of scam.

"Deliberately misleading people because you dislike their values and way of life is pretty pathetic.

"I hope Facebook will take action against those involved, but I fear their track record is poor in doing so.

"I’d always recommend people check out the provenance of any social media post that advertises events or meetings, as usually the venue’s social media will mention an event as well as it being advertised by the promoter for example."