Fraudster’s PlayStation scam left families out of pocket before Christmas

A "mean" fraudster left families out of pocket in a PlayStation scam just weeks before Christmas.

By Karon Kelly
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 3:03 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2022, 3:03 pm

Josh Wilkinson advertised a gaming console for sale over the internet and attracted buyers from more than 200 miles away.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard when purchasers turned up at his house, Wilkinson took their cash, went back inside and simply closed the door on them without handing over any PlayStation.

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

Josh Wilkinson.

Prosecutor Jane Foley told the court: "He advertised a PlayStation or sale. He took cash, pretended to go into his house to get it then never reappeared."

One victim said in an impact statement: "It was a five hour and 12 minutes trip, totalling about 242 miles for me.

"I lost £450 in cash and it cost me about £40 for fuel.

"It was a PlayStation 5 for my step-son's Christmas box.

"I am sat at the police station giving a statement when I want to be home comforting my kids.

"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: "This incident has let me upset. My son is upset and distressed that he has handed over one weeks' wages to a person who has run off without any intention of bringing out what he paid for.

"I am also upset 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 her cash card to spend £95 and shop theft.

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

"It was really mean what you did, taking advantage of people who wanted no more than to purchase for example Christmas presents for their children."

The court heard Wilkinson, who has previous convictions, has since been given a suspended sentence for an unrelated offence and is now working well with the probation service.

Judge Prince sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation requirements.

Brian Mark, defending, said: "He is in last chance saloon, not just with the court but with his mother."