A fraudster’s PlayStation scam left families out of pocket before Christmas

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Josh Wilkinson announced the sale of a game console on the Internet and attracted buyers from over 200 miles away.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard that when the buyers showed up at his home, Wilkinson took their money, went back inside and simply shut the door for them without handing over any PlayStations.

The 19-year-old, from Lady Street, Hetton, committed the same scam four times between December 3, 2020 and January 1, 2021 and caused misery for the victims, who handed over between £400 and £450 to a time.

Josh Wilkinson.

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Prosecutor Jane Foley told the court: “He advertised a PlayStation or a sale. He took money, pretended to enter his house to get it, then never appeared again.”

One victim said in an impact statement: “It was a five hour and 12 minute journey, totaling approximately 242 miles for me.

“I lost £450 in cash and it cost me around £40 in fuel.

“It was a PlayStation 5 for my son-in-law’s Christmas box.

“I’m sitting at the police station making a statement when I want to be home comforting my children.

“I had borrowed money from my brother-in-law, £450 was for his only Christmas present.

“I can’t think straight. I feel sick.”

Another buyer said: “I was upset by this incident. My son is upset and distressed to have handed over a week’s wages to someone who ran away with no intention of reporting back what they paid.

“I am also upset that I had to travel from Leeds for this to happen.”

Wilkinson admitted fraud as well as burglary at his mother’s home, fraudulent use of his payment card to spend £95 and theft from shops.

Judge Christopher Prince said: “You advertised a PlayStation for sale, four people came to your house, they handed over between £400 and £450, you walked into the house and they lost their money.

“It was really mean what you did, taking advantage of people who wanted nothing more than to buy Christmas presents for their children, for example.”

The court heard Wilkinson, who has a previous conviction, has since received a suspended sentence for an unrelated offense and is now working well with the probation service.

Judge Prince sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation conditions.

Brian Mark, defending, said: “He’s in the last-ditch saloon, not just with the court but with his mother.”

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