Jail for Sutton fraudster who sold fake caravan holidays on Gumtree

A Sutton man who made £200 by selling holidays at a caravan in Ingoldmells he didn't own has been jailed.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 2nd November 2016, 5:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:56 pm
Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

Curtis Hood, 33, of Beechwood Close, admitted five counts of fraud when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The court heard Hood deceived holidaymakers into giving him £50 deposits, between January 16 and April 16, this year, after advertising the caravan at the Sealands Caravan Park, on the Gumtree website.

Neil Hollett, prosecuting, said the deception was uncovered when police were shown one of the cheques he had received during a visit to his home in January.

One of his victims even travelled to Ingoldmells only to be told the caravan wasn’t available.

Some of the offences were committed while Hood was on a suspended sentence for fraud, imposed last year, and while he was on bail while police investigated the first offences.

Chris Lacey, mitigating, said Hood had split from his partner last Christmas and had been sleeping rough in Chesterfield, when he first advertised the caravan on Gumtree by using a computer in a library.

“He used his own bank account,” said Mr Lacey. “There is nothing sophisticated about this, in fact it’s pretty stupid.”

He said Hood had since found a job as a dementia carer, which he “absolutely loves” and had explained his legal position to his employers.

“If he goes into custody he will lose his job and his girlfriend,” Mr Lacey added. “If you don’t agree with that, he only has himself to blame.”

Isobel Peach, of the probation service, said Hood resorted to offending when circumstances were difficult, but accepted responsibility for what he had done.

Magistrates activated a 24 week suspended sentence, imposed in 2015 for a similar offence, and added 20 weeks for the five counts of fraud to run concurrently, meaning he will got to prison for 24 weeks in total.

He was ordered to pay compensation of £50 to four of his victims on his release.